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Aberdeen pays top rate

The annual TESTES Scotland survey of FE principals' pay reveals thumping increases for some - but college leaders have issued a health warning about comparing apples and oranges.

The highest paid Scottish principal is Rae Angus of Aberdeen College, up from pound;101,654 to pound;106,981 in 2001-02, commensurate with the college's position as one of Scotland's largest. But he has slipped down the rankings from 30th best paid UK principal last year to 37th.

The survey (pages 4-5), which covers 42 Scottish colleges, places the principal of Oatridge College in West Lothian at the bottom of the scale on pound;59,000, although that is pound;4,000 up on last year's figure.

The Association of Scottish Colleges points out, however, that colleges treat earnings in different ways. Since the figures relate to benefits as well as actual pay, practice matters: Dundee, for example, has never included the employers' contribution in the costs of its principal's pension, while most others do.

There are also factors affecting earnings in any given year. Tom Wilson, principal of Glasgow College of Building and Printing, received an additional payment for his work as merger director of the abortive attempt to combine the three main colleges in the city centre. This produced a salary of pound;85,025 compared with pound;81,962 in the previous survey.

Other colleges, such as Edinburgh's Stevenson and Inverness, have had two principals in the same financial year so the figures reflect payments to the outgoing and current principal.

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