Essex: Shock as figures reveal school caretaker earns £55,000 a year

MP Douglas Carswell

MP Douglas Carswell - Credit: Archant

A CARETAKER at a north Essex primary school is being paid more than £50,000 a year - double most teachers’ salaries.

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Should we raid council reserves? - Credit: PA

Figures handed to the East Anglian Daily Times show how a site manager at a school in north Essex - which we are unable to idenitity for legal reasons - receives a salary of £38,000 plus additional pay of up to £17,000 for additional support and grounds maintenance.

The salary is £33,000 more than a newly qualified primary school teacher and £18,000 more than a teacher at the very top end of the nationalised pay scale.

The school’s budget for 2010/11 also shows the caretaker’s income was £13,000 more than what was being allocated for special educational needs, despite a third of the pupils at the school requiring additional support with their learning.

MP Douglas Carswell said he was “shocked” and “extremely concerned” about by the news.

According to the school’s budget reports for the last three years, the site manager’s pay is £38,000, plus approximately £7,000 for groundsman duties, up to £7,500 for other support and additional pay for any overtime.

A spokeswoman from the school said it is cheaper to pay the site manager to carry out additional tasks rather than employ a contractor, while a statement issued by Essex County Council (ECC), which is responsible for schools, said governors are allowed to set their own budgets and staff salaries.

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Mr Carswell said: “I am shocked and extremely concerned.

“This is further evidence the senior management hasn’t got a grip. An awful lot of money is being spent on the caretaker which would be better off spent on improving results and truancy.

“Most mums and dads will ask how can it possibly be right that a large sum of money is going on a caretaker rather than on raising standards or literacy.”

A spokeswoman for the school said: “In addition to his salary the site manager also receives overtime pay which incorporates delivery of the grounds contract and additional support. It is better value for money for the site manager to provide this service rather than using an external provider or employing more staff.”

A spokeswoman from ECC added: “The decision to appoint school staff and their associated salaries is made by individual school’s governing bodies.”

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