Academy trust probed by DfE on pay gives CEO £33k rise

Elliot Foundation boss's pay has risen by 19 per cent in a year to break the £200,000 barrier, accounts show

John Roberts

A multi academy trust leader has been awarded a £33,000 pay rise

A multi-academy trust that has been questioned by the government over its high levels of pay has awarded its chief executive a £33,000 pay rise, taking his salary above the £200,000 mark.

Accounts for the Elliot Foundation Academies Trust reveal that its chief executive, Hugh Greenway, saw his pay increase from £169,720 to £202,805 last year.

The foundation was one of 146 academy trusts that were asked to justify why they paying their chief executives more than £150,000 a year.

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It was named last year as one of the organisations that has been asked to explain its high levels of pay in 2017-18 to the head of the Education and Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA), Eileen Milner.

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At the time, the trust replied that the chief executive had only had a 1 per cent pay rise in 2017-18. 

But new accounts for 2018-19 show that Mr Greenway has now received a pay increase of almost 20 per cent.

His pension contributions have also risen from £16,454 in 2017-18  to £21,250 in 2018-19. 

Elliot Foundation Academies Trust is a primary trust that runs 27 schools in London, the West Midlands and East Anglia.

Mr Greenway told Tes that he accepted the public scrutiny that came with his salary.  He said that it was not for him to defend the pay rise, as it was not his decision.  

But he highlighted the findings of Ofsted’s summary multi-academy trust evaluation of the Elliot Foundation last year.

This report was one of Ofsted's first new inspections across multi-academy trusts. 

It was produced following a series of inspections of Elliot Foundation Academies Trust schools. It found that 14 schools had seen their inspection rating improve by a grade and five of its schools had improved by two inspection grades.

Ofsted’s summary MAT evaluation also said: “Leaders have high expectation and have helped promote significant rapid improvement for most of the trust's schools.”

However, the trust also received a warning notice from the Department for Education in August which said that it could be stripped of one of its schools after it went into special measures.

The DfE warned that it could terminate the funding agreement of Ramnoth Junior School in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.

At the time, Mr Greenway told Tes the trust had turned the school around before, and "will do it again".

There has been a major effort by the ESFA to curb top-level pay, with Ms Milner writing to trusts paying senior leaders more than £150,000 or with multiple members of staff earning six-figure salaries asking them to justify this.

Last year it was revealed that the agency had written to 63 more trusts for the first time after discovering they pay multiple members of staff more than £100,000.

In May of last year, the ESFA had written to 276 trusts over high levels of pay but only 50 had agreed to reduce their salaries.

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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