Academy chiefs' pay rises up to twice that of teachers

By Dave Speck on 28 January 2021

Report recommends multi-academy trusts should consider performance of their leaders and ‘not simply what peers are earning’

Chief executives of some multi-academy trusts (MATs) received percentage pay rises last year that were more than double that of senior teachers, a new report shows.

The ninth annual Kreston Academies Benchmark Report, published today, reveals the average pay increase of trust chief executives and executive headteachers in England was up 4.3 per cent, from £106,823 to £111,448

The highest percentage salary rise was in trusts with between 2,500 and 5,000 pupils, where the average salary (for chief executives, executive headteachers and single school headteachers combined) rose by 6.2 per cent from £117,350 to £124,679.  


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This compares to a pay rise for senior teachers of 2.75 per cent last year. 

The report also reveals that, across all trusts, the percentage of senior executives earning more than the prime minister (over £150,000) increased from 5 per cent in 2019 to 6 per cent in 2020. However, it shows that in the largest trusts (of between 5,000 and 15,000 pupils), the average salary fell from £142,467 to £140,396.

The report states: “In setting executive pay levels, they [trust boards] will need to consider data from a variety of sources, but what is evident is that boards should consider the performance of the headteacher and not simply what peers are earning.

“The setting of executive pay, especially in larger trusts, can be complex and challenging, and it is for these reasons that the boards should consider using external advisers where considered appropriate.”

Published annually by Kreston International’s academies group, the report is a financial state-of-the-nation survey of more than 300 trusts, representing 1,400 schools. The survey covers the 2019-20 academic year.

Last year, Tes analysis revealed the 23 multi-academy trusts that raised their top salaries despite being challenged by the government over high pay.