'Superheads should be paid £120,000'

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The Independent Online

Headteachers drafted in to turn round failing schools should be offered boardroom pay packages worth £675,000 with a full range of chiefexecutive-style perks, a report by management consultants recommended yesterday.

Headteachers drafted in to turn round failing schools should be offered boardroom pay packages worth £675,000 with a full range of chiefexecutive-style perks, a report by management consultants recommended yesterday.

Salaries of £120,000, performance bonuses of up to £75,000 over five years, company cars, health insurance, pensions bonuses and free child care were needed as part of a radical pay package to recruit heads to the highest-profile jobs in British education.

The high salaries would put an élite band of about 100 heads on a par with chief executives of medium-sized companies and cabinet ministers, said experts from Hay Management Consultants, one of the world's leading specialists in executive pay.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, which commissioned the report, said only "thinking the unthinkable" would persuade the nation's best heads to risk their careers by taking on some of the country's most difficult schools.

High-performing heads are at the centre of the Government's polices for tackling the most difficult schools. David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, will be recruiting high flyers to run the new city academies, designed to serve some of the most deprived urban areas. He has proposed £100,000 a year for heads prepared to take on a group of schools, but £80,000 is in effect the maximum for most.

Ministers have endured a string of high-profile resignations from flagship "fresh start" schools in Brighton, Newcastle and Islington, north London, months after they were reopened under new management.

Mr Hart said the new salaries would be needed for fresh-start heads brought in to failing schools, or those running the new city academies, likely to be unveiled next week to serve deprived urban areas.

Under the scheme, heads would be given five-year contracts, with a bonus if they meet performance targets. Mr Hart said the most difficult schools should have temporary exemption from normal inspections by the education watchdog Ofsted, and help to recruit high-quality governors, staff and senior managers.

"We have to recognise this is a high-risk business," he said. "If David Blunkett is serious about turning the tide round in these schools in great difficulties he has to be prepared tobe radical."

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