Single-academy trust probed by DfE still paying £210k+

EXCLUSIVE: Trust running London school has twice been asked to justify paying more than £150,000 by funding agency boss

Academy pay: A single academy trust has continued to pay more than £210,000 a year despite being challenged by the DfE

A single-academy trust that has twice been questioned by the government over its high executive pay has continued to pay a member of staff more than £210,000, its latest accounts reveal.

The Kingsdale Foundation was among a group of trusts that only run one school that were asked by the Department for Education to justify paying a salary of more than £150,000 to leaders.

The trust, which runs the Kingsdale Foundation School, a secondary academy in Dulwich, south-east London, was written to in December 2017 and again in May last year by the chief executive of the DfE's  Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), Eileen Milner.


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However, the foundation’s latest accounts for 2018-19 show that it continued to pay its highest-paid member of staff between £210,001 and £220,000 last year.

Accounts for the Kingsdale Foundation show a member of staff was also on this salary band in both 2017-18 and 2016-17, which prompted the ESFA letters.

Academy leaders' pay questioned

The foundation is one of three single-academy trusts, written to by the ESFA in December 2017, that paid a staff member more than £200,000-a-year in 2018-19.

Accounts for Holland Park School, a secondary academy in Kensington, West London, show its headteacher Colin Hall saw his salary increase from £260,000 to £265,000 in 2017-18 to £270,000 to £275,000 in 2018-19.

And accounts for Telford City Technology College Trust, which is responsible for the Thomas Telford School in Shropshire, paid its highest earner between £280,000 and £290,000 in 2018-19, up from £270,001 to £280,000 a year earlier.

The accounts do not name the member of staff receiving this renumeration.  

The Kingsdale Foundation School has been approached for comment.

Last year the country’s highest-paid school leader, Sir Dan Moynihan, who earns a salary of more than £450,000 as chief executive of the Harris Federation, suggested that the high pay of leaders running small numbers of schools should be questioned.

He said: “If you’ve got very large salaries and it's one school or two schools, that needs a closer look, I think.”

The ESFA has been attempting to crack down on high-level executive pay since 2017.

It has been focused on trusts paying more than £150,000 or multiple six-figure salaries.

In 2018 the ESFA wrote to a group of multi-academy trusts that paid a salary of more than £150,000.

A Tes investigation has found that around a third of these went on to give their chief executives or top earners a pay rise above £150,000 in 2018-19.

And three-quarters of these trusts were still paying at least one member of staff more than £150,000.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “It is essential that we have the best people to lead our schools if we are to raise standards, but academy trust salaries should be justifiable and reflect the individual responsibility – particularly in cases of significant increases.

“Since 2017, we have challenged 278 academy trusts across the country in relation to their pay, and asked them to provide clear rationale for those receiving the highest salaries. We will be making further challenges in the coming months.”

 

 

 

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