“New concerns have been raised over the pay handed to academy school bosses after it emerged that almost 1,000 academy trusts paid a six-figure salary to at least one staff member last year.
A total of 988 trusts, the not-for-profit charities that oversee academy schools, had at least one person on £100,000 or more in 2017-18, with 146 paying £150,000 or more to at least one employee.
The proportion of trusts paying £150,000-plus salaries has risen by 20% in a year, with a 7.6% rise among those with at least one person above £100,000. The rise came despite an increase in the number of academy trusts in deficit, from 5.9 to 6.4%.
The official figures, released last week, will fuel criticisms of the government’s academies programme. There have already been rows over schools using their independence to pay big sums to senior management. It comes amid huge concern over the financial pressures on classrooms.
Academies are not part of nationally set pay structures so trusts are left free to set remuneration as they see fit. Most of the best-paid leaders in English schools are now trust chief executives, running groups of academies. Since last year ministers have written to 213 trusts with at least one person on £100,000 or more asking for justification. However, only 50 trusts had reduced remuneration.
Outside the academies system, it is relatively rare for a school leader to reach six figures. The top of the national pay range for headteachers, which applies to non-academy schools, was £116,738. This would be paid to a very small minority of leaders running large local authority secondary schools in London. …”