Lord Agnew: Large pay rises for academy chiefs 'unreasonable'

Lord Agnew said that a pay rise of 141 per cent was not acceptable in the current economic climate

Adi Bloom

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It is unreasonable for academy chief executives to be receiving large pay rises in the current economic climate, according to academies minister Lord Agnew.

This was echoed by the national schools commissioner, Sir David Carter when asked about pay rises – reported recently by Tes.

Lord Agnew and Sir David were being questioned by members of the parliamentary education select committee.

The chair of the committee, former skills minister Robert Halfon, referred to a recent Tes article, which cited the fact that Clive Neathey, chief executive of Rosedale Hewens Academy Trust, received a 141 per cent pay rise between 2014-15 and 2015-16.

“Perhaps if every one of those students had incredible results and destinations, it might be worth it,” Mr Halfon said. “But what checks and balances are there?”


Sir David said that he was sure that many multi-academy trusts (MATs) “are taking account of the difference and the gap between the teaching staff and the chief executive of the MAT”.

However, pressed on whether he believed a 141 per cent pay rise to be acceptable in the current economic climate, Sir David said: “This is the responsibility of the individual academy boards. But I don’t think it’s reasonable in the current economic climate, no.”

Asked the same question, Lord Agnew said: “The bald facts that you’ve given me make it sound unreasonable.”

The chair of trustees at Rosedale Hewens previously told Tes that Mr Neathey had taken a significant pay cut while the trust was expanding – and that the scale of his pay rise was therefore misleading.

But the Education and Skills Funding Agency today announced that academy trusts paying leaders more than £150,000 have until next Friday to explain their rationale.

How they treat teachers

MPs at this morning’s select-committee hearing also questioned Sir David about what regional schools commissioners (RSCs) could do to improve teacher recruitment and retention within individual academy trusts.

He said: “How they treat their teachers, how they develop them, how they take care of them so they stay in the profession longer – I think that’s a perfectly justifiable part of the RSC role.”  

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Adi Bloom

Adi Bloom is Tes comment editor

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