London Academy superhead earns more than £200,000

Education Editor

The executive head of a primary school academy was awarded a 56 per cent pay rise last year, bringing his salary to more than £200,000 a year - way above that of the Prime Minister, official accounts show.

The bumper pay rise was awarded to Sir Greg Martin, the executive head of the Durand primary academy in Stockwell near Brixton, south London, one of five superheads singled out for praise by Education Secretary Michael Gove soon after taking office.

He is also the man behind the controversial plan to set up a state boarding school in the West Sussex countryside for secondary aged pupils from the Brixyon. The scheme, which has been given start-up costs of £17.3 million from the department for Education, has been criticised by both the National Audit Office and Margaret Hodge, who chairs the public accounts committee - who claim the Government failed to taker into account the risks associated with the project before earmarking cash for.

The Durand Education Trust's accounts show Sir Greg's salary soared from £128,322 to £200,822. In addition, he received an extra £28,316 in pension contributions. The average pay of a primary school leader is just £53,000 a year. David Cameron earns around £150,000 a year.

The pay rise sparked off fury amongst teachers' leaders last night with Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, saying: "It is remarkably hard to see how this can possibly be justified in a publicly funded school when those employed in the public sector are still restricted to a one per cent pay rise."

A statement from the Trust last night said: "Durand's executive head does not just run a primary school but now oversees an early years school. a junior school, and a middle school which opened in September 2013 and is leading the development of Durand's pioneering plan for a state boarding school in West Sussex.

"With more than 1,000 children being educated across three school sites, it is a hugely demanding role and governors are proud and privileged to retain the services of such an experienced and dedicated head teacher."

The accounts also showed that Nathalie Parker, acting head of the academy, was given a salary of between £115,000 and £120,000 last year.

These developments follow a long-running row over the plans to set up the boarding school, with villagers claiming it will be a traffic hazard with pupils bussed to and from Brixton to the school ever week. They have also produced an independent financial analysis of the scheme which estimates the eventual cost will be more than double the £22 million originally estimated for the scheme. Conversion work on the building has also been refused planning permission because planners say it is out of step with the national conversation area in which it is housed.

The proposed school, which has been described by Mr Gove as "exciting" and giving inner city pupils "access to an outstanding secondary education", is scheduled to open in September 2015.

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