High wages “represent good value in terms of raising standards for children”

The high wages of academy bosses have been defended after it was revealed the salary of the highest paid academy chain leader has soared to £370,000.

A joint investigation by Schools Week and Watchsted into the CEO pay and Ofsted performance of the 10 largest academy trusts, found one person was on a salary more than two-and-a-half times that of David Cameron.

Sir Daniel Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, saw his pay for running 28 schools increase by nearly £40,000 in 2014 – making him the highest paid boss of a multi-academy trust (MAT).

However, figures show that every Ofsted inspection carried out at academies since they joined the Harris Federation has resulted in a good or outstanding rating.

According to Harris’s financial statements for the year to August 2014, many of the academies which received “excellent” Ofsted inspection results had been “very challenging schools previously in special measures”.

Sir Daniel’s salary level is £150,000 higher than that of the next-best paid academy boss, AET’s Ian Comfort.

An AET spokesman told Schools Week: “Our objective is for every one of our academies to become outstanding as soon as possible, and we are making real progress in this direction.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, also defended the high salaries.

He said: “It can be right to pay school leaders significant sums of money, particularly if they are leading many schools in challenging circumstances.

“This can represent good value in terms of raising standards for children. The crucial thing is that these decisions are made fairly, transparently and with due process to reassure the public that these decisions are right.”

But Unison’s head of education, Jon Richards, whose union represents more than 250,000 support staff in UK state schools, told Schools Week: “The explosion in senior pay across many academy trusts over the past few years is completely disproportionate.

“In the same period, school support staff have endured year upon year of pay freezes and real-term pay cuts.”

Leave a Reply