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Private schools top up wages

Frances Rafferty and Biddy Passmore report on the potential for discord created by the profession's new salary structure

ALL the major independent schools pay their staff at least as much as they would earn in the state sector, and in some cases a great deal more, writes Biddy Passmore.

But the way in which schools top up the national pay scales - the most common practice - varies enormously.

Some add a flat sum of, say, pound;1,000 to each point on the scale, some add up to 10 per cent. Others may stick to the national scales but start new entrants higher up the spine than state schools.

Many add special perks and allowances or boarding accommodation.

It is now common for independent schools to offer their teaching staff free health insurance. Even more widespread is the practice of offering heads and staff a reduction on fees at their school.

A survey of private-sector pay conducted last summer for the Girls' Day School Trust (see box right) found that nine out of ten schools offered heads and teaching staff fee reductions averaging two-thirds.

The salaries of most heads within the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, which covers the 240 leading boys' and co-ed public schools, are thought to lie within the pound;45-65,000 range, with a handful earning as little as pound;40,000 and one or two more than pound;100,000.

The 500-strong Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools suggested that most of its heads would earn between pound;30,000 and pound;40,000.

At a leading day prep school in north London, the starting salary for a good graduate is more than pound;19,000 (including inner London allowance of pound;2,240) and a classroom teacher would be earning pound;27,750 after eight years. Four extra discretionary points could push the salary up to just over pound;30,000.

The head of a major department gets an allowance of pound;2,500, while those of a smaller department get pound;1,200. The classroom maximum for a teacher is pound;37,500.

At a mixed day and boarding prep with 300 pupils in the east Midlands, teaching staff receive national pay scales plus pound;1,000. Accommodation, meals and health insurance are free.

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