Should academy trust bosses of schools in Suffolk and Essex be earning more than Theresa May?

Teacher Alison Earl has not been banned from teaching. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK PHOTO

Teacher Alison Earl has not been banned from teaching. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK PHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Education chiefs have questioned soaring salaries paid to academy bosses as latest figures show some are earning more than the Prime Minister. Today, we are asking: should their salaries be capped?

Pay packets for chief executives of multi-academy trusts in the county are growing with the highest-paid collecting a remuneration package – salary and benefits – of more than £235,000, compared to the Prime Minister’s annual £143,462.

Ian Comfort, former chief executive of the Academies Enterprise Trust which runs schools such as Felixstowe Academy, picked up a remuneration package of £236,000 for the financial year 2015/16. He stepped down from his position in November 2016.

A trust spokesman said: “Our senior salaries were established by an independent management company and reflect that we are by far the largest multi-academy trust.”

Graham White, secretary of Suffolk NUT, said the gap between teaching assistant salaries and those earned by chief executives and principals is growing at an “unacceptable” rate.

Ian Cleland, of the Academy Transformation Trust. Picture: IAN BURT

Ian Cleland, of the Academy Transformation Trust. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: IAN BURT

The figures come at a time when school budgets are falling and teachers are facing a pay rise of just 1% this year.

Mr White added: “I would say it is unacceptable to pay chief executives and principals more than £200,000. That is exceptionally high.

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“If you consider that a teaching assistant will typically earn between £10,000 and £15,000 that puts a remuneration package of over £200,000 at almost 15 times that.

“That is a big gap and the inequality really is starting to show.

Dame Rachel de Souza. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Dame Rachel de Souza. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

“Chief executives arguably have a difficult job to do. But is a salary of that magnitude really justified, particularly in the current climate?”

Academy Transformation Trust chief executive Ian Cleland also earned more than Theresa May with a package worth £185,000-£190,000.

He has had a £10,000 pay rise since 2014/15.

Inspiration Trust chief executive officer Dame Rachel de Souza is also on more than the Prime Minister at £150,000, although her salary has decreased since last year.

Who are our highest earning academy chiefs?

Academies Enterprise Trust

• Clacton Coastal Academy

• Felixstowe Academy

• New Rickstones Academy (Witham)

• Tendring Technology College

• Maltings Academy (Witham)

• Langer Primary Academy (Felixstowe)

• 41 others nationwide

Ian Comfort, former chief executive (stepped down November 2016). Remuneration package 2016: £235,000-£240,000 (2015: £225,000-£230,000).

Ormiston Academies Trust

• Stoke High School – Ormiston Academy (Ipswich)

• Ormiston Endeavour Academy (Ipswich)

• Ormiston Sudbury Academy

• Ormiston Denes Academy

• 28 others nationwide

Toby Salt, former chief executive (left in January 2017). Remuneration package 2016: £205,000-£210,000 (2015: £200,000-£205,000).

Academy Transformation Trust

• Beck Row Primary Academy (Bury St Edmunds)

• Great Heath Academy (Mildenhall)

• Mildenhall College Academy

• Ravens Academy (Clacton)

• Westbourne Academy (Ipswich)

• 17 others nationwide

Ian Cleland, chief executive. Remuneration package 2016: £185,000-£190,000 (2015: £180,000-£185,000).

Inspiration Trust

• East Point Academy (Lowestoft)

• Stradbroke Primary Academy (Gorleston, Norfolk)

• 12 others in Norfolk

Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive officer and trustee. Remuneration package 2016: £150,000-£155,000 (2015: £155,000-£165,000).

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