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Exclusive: Academy trusts plan to link executive pay to NQT salaries

Move comes amid increasing government scrutiny of academy staff paid more than £100,000

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Move comes amid increasing government scrutiny of academy staff paid more than £100,000

A number of leading multi-academy trusts are planning to create a joint framework on setting executive pay levels, Tes can reveal.

The move comes as the pay of senior academy staff comes under increasing scrutiny, with the DfE this week asking academy trusts with two or more staff paid between £100,000 and £150,000 to justify the salaries.

It had previously asked 29 single academy trusts with staff earning more than £150,000, and 87 multi-academy trusts in the same situation, to justify these pay levels.

And last month Meg Hillier, the chair of the influential Commons Public Accounts Committee, warned that “excessive trustee salaries deprive the frontline of vital funds”.

The idea now being discussed by the academy trusts involves linking the salary of senior leaders to the average salary of newly-qualified teachers within the organisation that they run.

The model is based on that used by Reach 2, the largest primary-only academy trust in England, when setting the pay of its chief executive, Sir Steve Lancashire.

In its latest financial accounts, published in January, Reach2 says: “The highest paid role will not exceed 10 times that of a newly qualified teacher.”

Tes understands that Reach2 has had discussions with a number of other multi-academy trusts about how, as a sector, trusts could self-regulate pay levels.

According to Reach2 accounts for 2016-17, the average annual salary of a newly qualified teacher across the trust was £23,547, and the remuneration of Sir Steve totalled £240-250,000.

The trust argued that this did not breach its own limit because the pay package included performance pay.

This week, the ATL-section of the NEU teaching union called on the government to produce guidance to regulate academy chief executive pay.

Delegates at the union’s annual conference warned of a “rot of greed taking root in parts of our education system”.

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