A senior executive at the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) has left her job with an exit package worth half a million pounds, The TES has learnt.
Leanne Hedden, executive director for supporting delivery, and other TDA staff who chose not to relocate from London to Manchester with the quango, have received more than pound;7.3 million in redundancy and exit package payments in the past two years.
Bosses at the TDA, which is responsible for teacher training, predict the move - which began in 2009 and ended last year - will save pound;4 million a year.
But in the past two years payouts have overshadowed these potential savings. There were seven compulsory redundancies in 200910, and a further one in 201011. There were 113 "other departures" agreed in 200910, and 20 in 201011. A total of 18 people who left voluntarily went with a package worth more than pound;100,000.
In total, three members of the TDA's senior leadership team chose to leave the organisation rather than move with it to Manchester.
Ms Hedden, who earned pound;100-105,000 a year, had a compensation package worth pound;549,457, while Habte Hagos, director of finance and procurement, was given pound;109,589, and Lorraine Chapman, director of corporate services, pound;86,715. All left between July 2010 and March 2011. The payments are based on their former earnings and years of service.
Chris Keates, general secretary of teaching union the NASUWT, said the payouts amounted to a "huge level of waste".
"We raised these concerns at the time the decision was made to relocate the TDA. For the vast majority of people, moving was not an option," she said.
"The TDA seems to have accepted these costs because of the long-term savings they say will happen, but this money is being paid out at the same time as school budgets are being slashed."
Association for School and College Leaders general secretary Brian Lightman said: "At the end of this reorganisation I'm sure the Government will be held to account. The move was meant to be about saving money and that will need to be demonstrated."
The annual reports of another quango, the National College for School Leadership, shows one former worker there was given an exit package worth between pound;300,000 and pound;350,000.
A TDA spokeswoman said: "The sums published are not the sums paid to the individuals. They are the extra costs borne by the TDA compared to if the person had gone through to normal retirement age.
"The cost includes payments to the pension scheme and the capitalised cost of any annual compensation payments payable to the individual until they can claim their pension. In early-retirement cases, lump-sum payments to the individual on departure are often only a minor component of the total cost."
Since the payouts were made to the three members of the TDA senior leadership team, the Civil Service Compensation Scheme has been reformed and payments for higher earners are now limited.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: "The coalition Government is committed to ensuring the compensation paid to civil servants is sustainable and fair for civil servants and taxpayers. The new compensation terms have placed a cap on the total that can be paid out, while protecting the lower paid. This stops very large payments to individuals and reduces costs overall."
Since 2009, pound;746,000 has been paid out to 35 National College staff made redundant or who agreed to leave their jobs. Staffing numbers at the college, which is responsible for developing new headteachers, have reduced by almost a quarter after the Government shut down many of its activities.
Both the National College and the Training and Development Agency for Schools will next year become executive agencies of the Government, under the direct control of education secretary Michael Gove.
The TDA will become part of the new Teaching Agency.
Original headline: TDA executive gets pound;500k exit package as agency moves North