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Education quango executive leaves with #163;500k

A senior executive at the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) has left her job with an exit package worth half a million pounds.

Leanne Hedden, executive director for supporting delivery, and other TDA staff who chose not to relocate from London to Manchester, have received more than #163;7.3 million in redundancy and exit-package payments in the past two years.

Bosses at the TDA, which is responsible for teacher training, predict the move - which began in 2009 and ended last year - will save #163;4 million a year.

But in the past two years payouts have overshadowed these potential savings. There were seven compulsory redundancies in 200910, and a further one in 201011. There were 113 "other departures" agreed in 200910, and 20 in 201011.

Eighteen people who left voluntarily went with a package worth more than #163;100,000.

Ms Hedden, who earned #163;100-105,000 a year, had a compensation package worth #163;549,457.

Chris Keates, general secretary of teaching union the NASUWT, said the payouts represented a "huge level of waste".

"The TDA seems to have accepted these costs because of the long-term savings they say will happen, but this money is being paid out at the same time as school budgets are being slashed."

A TDA spokeswoman said: "The sums published are not the sums paid to the individuals. They are the extra costs borne by the TDA compared to if the person had gone through to normal retirement age.

"The cost includes payments to the pension scheme and the capitalised cost of any annual compensation payments payable to the individual until they can claim their pension.

"In early-retirement cases, lump-sum payments to the individual on departure are often only a minor component of the total cost."

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: "New compensation terms have placed a cap on the total that can be paid out, while protecting the lower paid. This stops very large payments to individuals and reduces costs overall."

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