At least 17 heads topped £150,000 package

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The Independent Online

At least 17 school leaders across England received pay packets worth more than £150,000 last year, a new analysis of figures showed today.

This includes the package of seven head teachers outside London, all earning more than the Prime Minister, which have just been discovered.

The disclosure comes days after it was revealed a London primary school head is being paid £270,000.

Mark Elms, head of Tidemill Primary School in south-east London, was given a remuneration package of £276,523 for 2009-10 including employers' pension, according to an analysis of Lewisham Council's accounts.

Further investigation of local authority accounts in England, conducted by the GMB union, shows that more are receiving bumper pay packets. A school employee in Essex received between £230,000 and £234,999 in 2009-10, although no further details were given, so it is not known how much of this was salary.

John King, head of both Gable Hall and William Edwards schools in Thurrock, Essex, received a salary package worth £155,891, which rose to £177,872 including pension contributions. The cost was split between the two schools.

Kelvin Simmons, head of Danum School in Doncaster, received a package worth £152,224, which added up to £173,999 with pension contribution. Dr Simmonds is also executive headteacher of Hall Cross School.

In Dorset an employee at a voluntary-aided or voluntary-controlled school earned between £175,000 and £180,000 last year, according to the council's accounts. No further details are known.

A head in South Tyneside was given a remuneration package worth between £180,000 and £184,999 in 2009-10. The council said this included redundancy pay, and that the actual salary was lower.

Paul Dick, executive headteacher of both Kennet School and Trinity School and Performing Arts College in west Berkshire, was given a package worth £175,364.

It was revealed earlier this week that 11 head teachers in the capital, including Mr Elms, are receiving more than £150,000 - above the Prime Ministers £142,500 salary. Many more are thought to be earning over £100,000.

Ted Purcell, GMB public services officer, said: "It is outrageous that a head teacher in a local community school should earn more money than the Prime Minister."

Concerns have been raised that heads of semi-independent academy schools could be receiving massive pay packages without the public's knowledge. Academies are exempt from Freedom of Information rules, so their salaries have not been made known.

Mr Purcell said: "There is a complete lack of accountability when schools are opted out of local authority control. Academies are opted out of the Freedom of Information rules so there is no way of knowing what these schools pay their heads and parents are left totally in the dark."