Headteachers' salaries are soaring in academies and free schools, say teachers

Delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' conference heard that growing numbers of heads were now earning more than the Prime Minister

Headteachers must guard against the "rot of greed" which has seen their salaries soar in some academies and free schools, teachers declared yesterday.

Delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Liverpool, heard that growing numbers of heads were now earning more than the Prime Minister's salary of £142,500 a year.

"When schools were under local (council) control, it would have been unthinkable as well as impossible that a headteacher, of even a group of schools, could earn more than a director of education, let alone the Secretary of State for Education, let alone the Prime Minister," Simon Clarkson from Leicestershire told the conference.

"We need to guard against the rot of greed.  Executive headteachers and headteachers have looked at their budgets and I am afraid some have decided to pay themselves excessive salaries."

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The executive head at the Durand Academies Trust - which runs the Durand Academy in Stockwell - earned £229,000 as a headteacher last year

Figures show a total of 41 heads are earning more than £142,000 a year - up by 10 when compared with the previous year.

In the most publicised case, Sir Greg Martin, executive head at the Durand Academies Trust - which runs a primary school in Brixton and is planning a boarding secondary school in the Sussex countryside. He earned £229,000 as a head and a further £160,000 from a company set up to run the school's sports and fitness centre last year.

Mr Clarkson said: "Our state schools are paid for by the public. they need to be accountable. Once this accountability was provided by local authorities in county council offices up and down the country.

"Elected members and council officers made sure schools both kept to the rules and served the needs of their local communities.  When I started teaching, especially in the state sector, there was little or no corruption."

He added: "Let me remind you whose money is being used to do this.  Ours.

 

"Let me remind you who this money should be spent on - the children and young people in our care.

"If large salaries are defensible, no-one should mind them being made public. So I call for senior leadership salaries, including the salaries of executive headteachers to be published by schools."

Kenneth Wheatley, also from Leicestershire, added: "It is not uncommon to hear of cases where there are conflicts of interest and even fraud in the accounts."

He recalled a case 100 years ago where a teacher had been censured after her accounts for needlework and textiles were a farthing out.  That may have been over the top but that kind of scrutiny would be welcome now, he added.

David Guiterman, from Cornwall, added that paying excessive salaries to headteachers meant the school budgets would have to be cuts elsewhere.

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