Exclusive: 7 academy leaders now paid more than £250K

High-profile academy chains and a single-school trust account for some of the country's highest-paid leaders

John Roberts and Claudia Civinini

Teacher pay: 7 academy leaders now paid at least £250K

There are now at least seven state school leaders who are earning salaries of a quarter of a million pounds or more, the latest set of multi-academy trust accounts reveal.

New financial reports show that seven senior figures – including two at one academy chain and one headteacher who is responsible for a single school – were among the highest-paid school sector staff in the country in 2019-20.

The Harris Federation has the two highest-paid staff in the English state school sector, in the accounts seen by Tes so far. 


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Sir Dan Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation and the country's top earner, has seen his salary increase to between £455,000 and £460,000 in 2019-20 – a £5,000 salary band increase on his 2018-19 salary.

The academy chain’s second-highest earner – who is not named in the accounts – earns between £300,001 and 310,000, which is higher than any salary seen by Tes in any other academy trust accounts to date.

Academy trust leaders earning up to £460,000

The next highest salary in the 2019-20 accounts was paid by the Thomas Telford School in Telford, Shropshire.

As Tes has revealed, the Telford City Technology College Trust, which runs the school, paid its highest earner between £290,001 and £300,000 in 2019-20.

The trust runs a single school, Thomas Telford. However, it also sponsors the Thomas Telford Multi-Academy Trust, which runs five schools in the West Midlands.

Sir Kevin Satchwell is the headmaster of Thomas Telford School and accounting officer for the Telford City Technology College Trust. 

He is also listed as the executive adviser and accounting officer for Thomas Telford Multi-Academy Trust in its latest accounts. However, the accounts do not name the person earning more than £290,000.

Julian Drinkall, the outgoing chief executive of Academies Enterprise Trust, has seen a slight fall in his salary in 2019-20 compared with 2018-19.

Accounts show that he earned between £285,000 and £290,000 compared with between £295,000 and £300,000 a year earlier.

The next highest wage is the headteacher of a single school in West London. 

As Tes revealed, Colin Hall, the headteacher of a secondary in the London Borough of Kensington, Holland Park School, had his salary increased to between £280,000 and £285,000, according to its latest accounts, compared with £270,000 to £275,000 a year earlier.

Two other multi-academy trust leaders have had pay rises that take their salaries just over the £250,000 mark.

Sir Jon Coles, the chief executive of United Learning was paid £252,000 in 2019-20, up from £240,000 a year earlier.

However, United Learning, which runs 90 schools, said that he also received a reduction in his pension so his overall package remained the same.

And Star Academies, which runs more than 30 schools in the North of England, has paid its highest earner between £250,001 and £260,000 in the most recent year – compared with between £230,000 and £240,000 in 2018-19.

The trust accounts do not name the individual receiving this salary.

A Harris spokeperson said: “Harris academies consistently deliver high standards, creating brilliant educational outcomes in disadvantaged communities across London.”

An AET spokesperson said: “The CEO’s remuneration is made up of a salary and performance bonus. The board is very pleased with the way in which not only have performance measures been met, but also that AET has led the way during the pandemic. Since joining in December 2016, Julian has declined any pay increases.”

Star Academies, Holland Park School and the Thomas Telford School were approached for comment.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said: " I am all for people being well rewarded for the job they do but we should all be concerned in the education sector about the increasing pay differentials between some academy chief executives and teachers' pay. The optics of this situation look bad.

"This is particularly a concern at a time when education funding has been cut in real terms. We should not forget that this is public money and if this money is going to chief executives in salaries of hundreds of thousands, this is money which is not being spent on teachers, supply staff and all the other recurring costs that schools face."

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John Roberts and Claudia Civinini

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