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Pay lure works for London primaries

On around pound;60,000 a year the capital's two newest heads close the gap with secondary colleagues. Jo Hurst reports

THE two London primary schools which broke the pound;60,000 barrier in their efforts to attract new heads have found their candidates.

Loughborough community primary, a 470 plus-pupil Fresh Start school in Lambeth and John Keble, a 470-pupil Church of England primary on special measures in Brent were forced into offering the salaries, due to the seriousness of the recruitment crisis facing the capital's schools.

The amount offered by the two local education authorities shows that primary heads in some areas can earn as much as a secondary head in another area.

Richard Thornhill, 40, the new head of Loughborough, said the increased salary was the only way that such schools could attract interest from heads because of the cost of living in London.

He said: "The key thing to remember on the issue of the pay is that it enables someone like me to consider schools such as Loughborough and make a move to London. I simply couldn't afford it otherwie.

"I also feel that primary schools are coming under increasing demands for results, and this emphasis on hitting targets will have to start being shown in the amount paid out to primary heads."

Mr Thornhill is currently head of Greystoke primary, Narborough, Leicester. He has been at the school for four years since being appointed from a deputy post at Casterton primary, an inner-city school in Burnley.

He declined to tell The TES exactly how much he was being paid for the position, although if he meets his performance targets he can expect to receive pound;60,000-plus. The salary is based on a scale of pound;54,950 to pound;63,177, inclusive of London weighting.

He said: "I am relishing the challenge of taking my education philosophy back into the inner-city context. As a Fresh Start school, Loughborough will be facing lots of challenges but will have the chance to succeed, through fresh injections of capital and tailored project management."

Kate Bailey, the new head of John Keble school, has declined to comment about her new position and salary.

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