Only one-in-five high paying academy trusts have agreed to cut six-figure salaries after the Department for Education asked them to justify their executive pay, Tes can reveal.
More than 200 academy trusts had been sent letters from the department questioning the high levels of pay being awarded to senior staff.
But of the 213 trusts which were targeted by the government, just 45 have since made reductions in senior pay.
The DfE said that these 45 trusts either no longer pay one person more than £150,000 or two people more than £100,000.
This represents 21 per cent of the trusts which have been written to by Eileen Milner, the chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency this year and last year.
Earlier this year education secretary Damian Hinds told the National Governance Association that 18 trusts had agreed to lower their pay levels as a result of the DfE’s actions.
He said that academy trusts that pay excessive salaries and hand out lucrative contracts to family and friends face a clampdown, under plans to make them more accountable for the money they spend.
Mr Hinds also told governors that multi-academy trust (MAT) chief executives should be paid more than the prime minister only in exceptional circumstances.
Last week government accounts named the 125 academy trusts that paid at least one salary of more than £150,000 last year.
The list is published in the Consolidated Annual Report and Accounts, which collates data from the more than 7,000 academies in England for the academic year 2016-17.
In the previous year, 121 trusts paid at least one salary of £150,000, representing 4.1 per cent of the sector.
The DfE has not named the trusts who have now agreed to stop paying in excess of £150,000.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Since we began challenging high pay in 2017, the number of academy trusts not paying either one individual over £150,000 or two people over £100,000 is now 45 out of the 213 we wrote to.
“Multi Academy Trusts receive a significant amount of public money and so it is right that the salaries of their executives are justifiable.
“That is why we wrote to trusts earlier this year to remind that executive pay should be based on a robust evidence-based process and should be reflective of the individual’s role and responsibilities.”