DfE backtracks on plan to publish list of highest-paid academy staff

Accounts for the academy sector reveal that 121 academy trusts had at least one employee paid more than £150,000

Martin George

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The Department for Education has backtracked on plans to list the names and salaries of academy staff paid more than £150,000.

The consolidated annual report and accounts for the academy sector in England, published this afternoon, reveals that 121 academy trusts had at least one member of staff or trustee paid this much in 2015-16.

Although the document lists all the academy trusts in this position, it does not name any individuals, or their remuneration. Instead, it says information about the pay of trustees is included in the accounts of each individual academy trust.

In last year’s "dry run" of the report, the DfE said “a high level of transparency is required of those receiving public funds”.

It said: “Next year, in addition, we intend to list the name of the trust, the name of the individual, and their remuneration (within £10,000 bands). This will be subject to a necessary process of communication with individuals, and due consideration of any individual concerns about the disclosure of this information.”

Today's document also says that 102 trustees of academy trusts received remuneration of more than £150,000 in 2015-16 – a fall from the 111 trustees who received this much in 2014-15.

The accounts say the trustees were paid for their work as an employee of the trust, and not for their responsibilities as a trustee.

There has also been a 70 per cent increase in the number of trusts paying any employee - including non-trustees - more than £150,000. In 2015-16, the number was 121, up from 71 the year before

Exit packages

Today’s report also reveals that four academy staff received exit packages worth between £100,001 and £150,000 in 2015-16.

One was a compulsory redundancy, while the remaining three are described as “other departures”.

There were a further 45 exit packages worth £50,001 to £100,000.

In total, the 2,699 compulsory redundancies in the academy sector cost £24.7 million in exit packages, while the 2,899 “other departures” cost £34 million.

The annual report also shows that academy trusts shelled out £158 million on consultancy costs for advisory services. The bulk of this, £138 million, was described as “educational”, with the remaining £20 million non-educational.

And 42 academy trusts had “off-payroll arrangements”, where staff are paid through an intermediary such as a personal services company.

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