New education secretary Gavin Williamson does not support the idea of leaders of multi-academy trusts being paid more than the prime minister.
In an exclusive interview with Tes, Mr Williamson said he wanted as much money as possible to be spent in classrooms and on teachers’ career development.
He said: “I find it difficult to square when people are getting paid more than the prime minister when they’re running public services, and I think that should be used a very useful benchmark.”
Quick read: 'No academy CEO should be paid over £250,000'
Revealed: The academy trusts paying £150k salaries
The Department for Education recently revealed the identities of the 146 academy trusts that paid at least one person £150,000 or more in 2017-18.
Increasing teachers' pay
The highest-paid MAT boss is Sir Dan Moynihan, of Harris Federation, who has come under criticism for his basic salary, which was around £440,000 last year and made up part of a salary package of at least £550,000, including pension contributions and national insurance.
The annual salary of the prime minister is £154,908, according to Downing Street.
Mr Williamson, whose brother is a teacher and whose wife is a teaching assistant, added: “I want to see as much money as possible going into the classroom, and I want to see as much as possible going into the training and the development of teachers and their careers, and I want to see teachers being paid more, and that’s why we’re introducing a £30,000 starting salary.
“I would always say to any multi-academy trust that I expect money to be spent wisely and well. That’s why, as part of our changes that we’ve announced, we want to be looking at making sure that money is being spent on the frontline and that restraint is always shown."
The Department for Education recently announced that it will work with Ofsted to ensure that school inspection reports include a rating for financial management and oversight in schools.
Mr Williamson said: “We want to make sure schools are spending money well, and that spending is going directly into the outcomes of children, and we want to be helping and assisting [schools] and giving them advice, and where schools are spending money wisely, we want this to be recognised as part of a check from Ofsted.”
The education secretary also praised Lord Agnew for his “amazing amount of work “ in looking at how schools can be assisted in spending money to make sure it’s going into the classroom.
A report earlier this year found the average pay of leaders at the largest multi-academy trusts had fallen amid a government crackdown on excessive salaries.