Bozena Laraway has been the headteacher at St Helen’s Catholic Junior School in Brentwood, Essex, for 15 years. Her school has about 350 pupils, but in 2015-16 she was paid a similar amount to bosses of large academy chains with numerous schools.
Her remuneration was between £150,000 and £160,000 in 2015-16 – a 50 per cent year-on-year rise – and pension contributions during that financial year took her overall package to between £165,000 and £180,000.
The money that Laraway received included £61,293 from what the school’s annual accounts describe as “consultancy services provided to a third party”.
Laraway says that she was asked to support another school – St John Fisher Catholic Primary School in Loughton – which was rated by Ofsted as “requiring improvement”. The headteacher says she “had two jobs” and that “it was agreed that for that work I would be remunerated accordingly”.
She adds: “I was asked to provide a service, which I did, and the remuneration was agreed. That school has, in a very short period of time, with my leadership and support, converted two points of the Ofsted grading into “good” – so there have been huge successes.
“I would hope that people do understand how difficult the job is – if one is asked to support another school that experiences difficulties.”
Taking on another job did not affect the school she was already running, Laraway insists. And now that she is no longer supporting the other school, her salary has dropped to less than £100,000, she says.
Asked if she thinks it is fair that she was on a salary greater than that of the prime minister, Laraway says “I have no comments about that”, before adding: “That’s a very unfair question.”
Laraway, whose school is rated “good” by Ofsted, describes her pay as “a fair amount for the outcomes of the work that I do”.
As well as her rise in remuneration in 2015-16, the school’s accounts reveal a “related-party transaction” that saw her husband paid £1,935 to give cello lessons at the school; Laraway explains that the long-standing arrangement has been in place for more than 12 years.
“My husband does it quite reluctantly because he’s only doing the school a favour, because there was no cello teacher,” says Laraway.
She adds: “All the other music teachers charge that amount of money and the governing body agreed with that.”