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Academy boss paid £550,000 calls for greater scrutiny of headteacher pay

Eleanor Busby
Almost one in three council-run secondary schools are now in deficit, a new study finds: PA

An academy chief who earns more than half a million pounds a year has called for more scrutiny over school leader pay.

Sir Dan Moynihan, who has a salary and benefits package of £550,000 for leading an academy chain, has said that large salaries of heads who run only one or two schools should be looked at.

But Sir Dan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, which runs 48 schools, said it was “different” when there is a large number of schools in an academy trust.

His comments come as executive pay has been in the spotlight with ministers calling on academy chains to justify paying their chief executives or headteachers more than £100,000.

Speaking to schools magazine Tes, Sir Dan said: “What matters is the outcomes for kids and if we’re managing our budgets efficiently and the kids are getting a good deal.

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

“But it’s different when there is a large number of schools and [the trust] is doing well and disadvantaged kids are making progress.”

Financial accounts earlier this year revealed that the head of Holland Park School, an academy in Kensington in west London – once dubbed the “socialist Eton” – saw his pay rise to £260,000.

The single-school academy trust was among the chains that received a letter from the academies minister in February which called on trusts to work with the government on the "issue" of high pay.

A report from the Public Accounts Committee last year said academy trusts that pay their bosses “unjustifiably” high salaries could spend taxpayers’ money better on improving children’s education.

The official annual report and accounts for academies in England showed there were 102 instances where trustees were paid salaries in excess of £150,000.

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saw his pay rise to £260,000.