The chief inspector's recent 34 per cent pay rise put the issue of teachers' salaries even higher up the profession's agenda - if it is possible to go higher than the top.
As this week's TES pay round-up reveals, Chris Woodhead's wage packet, though the most talked-about in the nation's staffrooms, is not the biggest. He is beaten by several university vice-chancellors and probably Michael Bichard, of the Department for Education and Employment. However, the DFEE refused to give precise salaries for civil servants, despite their status as public employees and talk of more open government.
If teachers are interested in the size of the education money pot, so is the private sector. Education is increasingly being stalked for a share in its multi-billion pound service. Companies are playing a greater role, with teacher supply and computer consultancy at the top of a lengthening list of services.
And last week they were offered the ultimate prize - managing their own state school. With Surrey council putting out to tender the management of the failing King's Manor school in Guildford, the private sector is no longer a bit player.
The Government annually puts some pound;27bn into education - pound;15.7bn of which is given to LEAs for schools. Ministers have now told councils they must delegate an extra pound;1bn to be spent by heads on essentials.
At the moment there are three key private sector players: Nord Anglia, Edison, an American company and the not-for-profit Centre for British Teachers.
Kevin McNeany, founder and chairman of Nord Anglia, is one of the highest earners in education. His shares rose by pound;3.6m after the Government announced that private companies would be invited to run schools in education action zones.
Computer companies are hoping for similar rewards. The Government has already earmarked more than pound;200m for the National Grid of Learning.
The teacher supply agency business is worth pound;100m and provides more than 10,000 teachers a week to schools. Fierce competition over the past 10 years has seen the market carved up by four players - TimePlan, Capstan, Select and Spring.
This autumn's Green Paper on modernising the profession will push pay to the fore. David Blunkett, the Education Secretary, has pledged better pay for better performance.
RANGE OF REWARDS
Michael Bichard,DFEE up to pound;161,930
Chris Woodhead, OFSTED pound;115,000
Chief executive, AoC (vacant) pound;100,000
David Blunkett, Education Sec pound;90,267
Nick Tate, QCA pound;89,085
Top FE college principal up to pound;80,000
Peter Smith, ATL pound;79,592
Michael Barber, DFEE up to pound;79,230
David Hart, NAHT pound;78,987
Anthea Millett, TTA pound;78,511
Estelle Morris, minister pound;77,047
Independent school head up to pound;75,000
Chief educ officers, shires up to pound;75,000
Doug McAvoy, NUT pound;74,922
Director of education, London up to pound;74,145. Baroness Blackstone, minister pound;70,974
Margaret Hodge, junior minister pound;69,339
Charles Clarke, junior minister pound;69,339
George Mudie, junior minister pound;69,339
Education director, metropolitan pound;65,000
Independent school bursar up to pound;64,000
Nigel de Gruchy, NASUWT pound;63,556
Principal, sixth-form college pound;55,000
Assistant gen sec, NASUWT pound;50,000
Kay Driver, PAT pound;48,031
Secondary head pound;45,000
Paul Mackney, NATFHE pound;43,050
NUT regional official up to pound;39,750
Deputy secondary head pound;36,000
Primary headteacher pound;32,000
Literacy coordinator up to pound;30,000
Top senior FE lecturer up to pound;29,073
Head of dept, secondary school pound;28,000
Classroom teacher pound;22,410
Newly-qualified teacher pound;15,012
Classroom assistant up to pound;11,000
Nursery nurse up to pound;10,761
School secretary up to pound;10,000
Caretaker up to pound;9,891
Office for Standards in Education Chris Woodhead, chief inspector of schools, pound;115,000 + performance bonus up to 10 per cent.
Registered inspector pound;2,800-pound;3,000 for a week in school + up to 4 weeks prepost insp.
Lay inspector pound;140-200 per day in-school.
Subject inspector pound;200-250 per day.
(Rates for registered and other subject inspectors vary according to private contract.) Qualifications and Curriculum Authority Nick Tate, chief executive, pound;89,085.
William Stubbs, chairman, works two days per week. QCA reimburse the London Institute at the rate he earns there.
Teacher Training Agency Anthea Millett, chief executive, pound;78,511 + performance cash bonus up to 10 per cent + standard civil service pension.
Training and Enterprise Council National council chief executive: post was advertised as pound;85,000 + car + health insurance + pension.
Association of Colleges Chief executive (post vacant) pound;100,000 + car + pension. Chair collects no salary.
Ministers get pound;45,066 as an MP + the following according to their ministerial post: David Blunkett pound;45,201.
Estelle Morris pound;31,981.
Margaret Hodge pound;24,273.
George Mudie pound;24,273.
Charles Clarke pound;24,273.
Baroness Blackstone, a member of the House of Lords, gets pound;70,974.
Civil servants Michael Bichard, permanent sec DFEE (pay range) pound;94,330 to pound;161,930.
Head of schools division (pay range) pound;76,710 to pound;112,040.
Michael Barber, head of standards and effectiveness unit, believed to be pound;72,000.
Chief education officer (shires) pound;65,000-pound;75,000 (estimate, varies according to post).
Education director (metropolitan) pound;50,000-65,000 (estimate, varies according to post).
Education director (London) pound;72,809-pound;74,145 Education director (unitary authority) pound;59,449-pound;55,662.
Literacynumeracy co-ordinators pound;25-30,000.
Education department clerical officer pound;8,376-11,283 (outsideLondon).
Association of Teachers and Lecturers Peter Smith, general secretary, pound;79,592 + pound;15,122 pension contribs.
No full-time regional staff.
National Union of Teachers Doug McAvoy, general secretary, pound;72,792 + pound;2,130 London weighting.
Regional secretary pound;37,335-pound;39,750 (have regular teacher pensions).
National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary, pound;63,556.
Assistant general secretary pound;50,000.
Regional officials pound;36,000.
All staff have additional non-contributory pension equivalent to 18 per cent of salary.
National Association of Head Teachers David Hart, general secretary, pound;63,330, plus pound;15,657 for acting as NAHT solicitor, plus car.
Secondary Heads Association John Dunford, gen secretary, pound;53,000 + car.
Fieldworkers: retainer + day rate of pound;100-plus.
Professional Association of Teachers Kay Driver, general secretary, pound;48,031 + car + health insurance + contributory pension.
National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education Paul Mackney, general secretary, pound;43,050 + regular teacher's pension.
Regional officials pound;28,836-pound;31,290 + regular teacher's pension + car.
Secondary head pound;45,000.
Deputy 75-80 per cent of heads' pay. Head of department pound;28,000.
Classroom teacher pound;22,410.
Newly-qualified teacher pound;15,012.
Primary head pound;32,000.
Deputy 75-80 per cent of heads' pay.
Teacher with responsibility points pound;24,000.
Classroom teacher pound;22,410.
Newly-qualified teacher pound;15,012.
The majority of teachers are on pound;22,410 with secondary teachers having more opportunities for responsibility points.
State school support staff Secretaries pound;8,500-10,000.
Classroom assistants pound;10,000-pound;11,000.
Canteen staff pound;4.35-4.97per hour.
Nursery nurses pound;8,376-pound;10,761.
Salaries can vary enormously, and can be affected by region.
But typically: A day-school head of Headmasters' Conference School pound;70-75,000 with a package which could include accommodation, a car, health insurance and children's school fees.
A teacher at an HMC school can receive 15 per cent more than an equivalent teacher in a state day school.
Heads and teachers in girls' private schools get paid less, probably the same as state school equivalents.
Teachers and heads of boarding schools will be paid considerably more, but will have many extra duties.
However the pay in some smaller, less prestigious private schools can be considerably less that state school salaries.
Independent school bursars Schools with 700+ pupils: boarding pound;44,000-pound;64,000, day pound;36,000-pound;50,000.
Schools with 500-700 pupils: boarding pound;37,000-pound;54,000, day pound;32,000-pound;43,000.
Schools with 300-500 pupils: boarding pound;35,000-pound;48,000, day pound;24,000-pound;37,000.
Schools with 100-300 pupils: boarding pound;30,000-pound;42,000, day pound;24,000-pound;37,000.
Principal depending on size of college pound;60,000-80,000.
Senior lecturer pound;21,999-pound;29,073.
Lecturer 16-point scale from pound;12,573-pound;24,354 Principals of agriculture and art and design colleges pound;55,000 Principals of sixth-form colleges pound;55,000 UNIVERSITIES
(figures taken from 1996-97 annual reports) Vice-chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan, pound;141,000 Vice-chancellor, Edinburgh, pound;130,000 Vice-chancellor, Cambridge, pound;112,000 Vice-chancellor, Imperial College, London pound;110,000 Vice-chancellor, Oxford, pound;85,413 Many of the salaries quoted are an average or taken from a range and will not always reflect variation by region or institution.
Additional research by Matthew Pennington