Academy leaders drag up all wages

12th November 2004 at 00:00
Secondaries without private sponsors offer heads more than pound;100,000 a year. Graeme Paton reports.

Six-figure headteacher salaries being offered by academies are pushing up wages elsewhere in the state sector.

In today's TES a failing Church of England secondary school in west London has advertised for a new head on as much as pound;110,000. The salary at Burlington Danes school, which was placed in special measures in May, is believed to be a record for a state head, outside an academy.

Recruitment expert John Howson, a visiting professor at Oxford Brookes university, said such high salaries were likely to become more common when the Government fulfils its pledge to open 200 new academies by 2010.

Academies, state secondaries independent of local authority control, are not bound by the same salary structures as other schools. They are also backed by pound;2 million in sponsorship from private benefactors and can often draw on the extra cash to employ head-hunters to find the best candidates.

Professor Howson said: "The more academies that come on stream, the more pressure they will put on everyone else's salary. They can afford to drive up headteachers' wages to attract the best to what is often a difficult inner-city area."

Alistair Falk, of the West London academy, is reputed to be the country's highest-paid headteacher, earning pound;120,000 a year.

But with the high wages comes tremendous pressure to perform. In the summer four new academy heads stood down less than a year after their schools opened.

Now these high salaries are being replicated elsewhere as other schools suffer similar difficulties recruiting new heads, reflecting school leaders' increasing responsibilities.

Burlington Danes, in Hammersmith, where more than a third of pupils are on free school meals, was placed in special measures after inspectors said behaviour was out of control and results and standards were too low.

The school first advertised for a new head in September after previous head Margaret Craig retired. The post was advertised at up to pound;100,000 but this has now been raised by pound;10,000 after it failed to attract a suitable candidate.

Parrs Wood, a popular secondary with almost 2,000 pupils, in the affluent Didsbury area of Manchester, advertised for a new headteacher earlier this year on pound;92,000 but last week it advertised the post at pound;103,914. Rachel Jones, the head, leaves next year.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said:

"This is a direct result of academies offering much higher salaries.

"That said, it is a very difficult job and, especially in the bigger secondary school, pound;100,000 is not a particularly generous salary given all the responsibilities heads now face."

Leader 22

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