Anger as school employee takes home �230,000

AN MP has said it is “outrageous” that all headteachers’ salaries are not made public after it emerged one education employee in Essex took home more than �230,000 last year.

Douglas Carswell, the Clacton MP, spoke out after it was revealed an unnamed Essex Local Education Authority teacher was paid the “staggering” amount.

Under new Government guidelines, all school heads paid more than �150,000 a year have to be named. It emerged this week that at least 17 across England fell into that bracket.

However, Essex County Council yesterday declined to name the employee with the �230,000 to �234,999 package because their basic wage was below the �150,000 threshold.

A council spokesman said the additional money could come from such factors as pension contributions or if there had been a redundancy settlement.

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But last night Mr Carswell said it was time for all headteachers salaries to be made available in the interests of transparency and accountability.

He told the EADT: “The first thing you have to have is transparency.

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“It is outrageous that we don’t know how much each headteacher earns as a matter of routine. It should be information which is publicly available on every school’s website. We should not have to ask for it – it should be there.

“I think you would need to be a pretty exceptional headteacher in a pretty exceptional school to justify that sort of package.

“I suspect there have been some very generous pay increases over the years because of the complete lack of accountability and a lot of small businessmen and women in Essex, who are probably really struggling to meet bills and pay rates and have enough money left over, will be pretty appalled by this – it’s taking home nearly a quarter of a million pounds.”

The Conservative MP said the situation reminded him of when the expenses scandal initially broke at Westminster with parliamentarians initially reluctant to explain what they were doing with the public’s money.

“Right across the public sector people who spend public money will have to account for what they spend that money on, right down to the last penny,” he added.

Bob Russell, Colchester MP, added: “It’s an extraordinary, extraordinary sum.

“It’s known what MPs get, it’s known what council chief executives get, hospital chief executives and the like so I suppose it would be legitimate to know, unless there were particular circumstances which explain why this sum was so high.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “This employee is not earning a salary in this bracket, it was part of a total remuneration package.

“As their individual salary was not over �150,000, we are not required to release any further information.”

It was revealed earlier this week that 11 head teachers in London are receiving more than �150,000 - above the Prime Ministers �142,500 salary. Many more are thought to be earning over �100,000.

Ted Purcell, GMB public services officer, said: “It is outrageous that a headteacher in a local community school should earn more money than the Prime Minister.”

Concerns have also been raised that heads of semi-independent academy schools could be receiving massive pay packages without the public’s knowledge.

Academies are exempt from Freedom of Information rules, so their salaries have not been made known.

Mr Purcell said: “There is a complete lack of accountability when schools are opted out of local authority control.

“Academies are opted out of the Freedom of Information rules so there is no way of knowing what these schools pay their heads and parents are left totally in the dark.”

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