The humongous pay packages enjoyed by some of our state school leaders may have crept up on us over the past 15 years, in the same way that academy autonomy quietly fell away with the advent of the multi-academy trust (MAT). But both phenomena seem here to stay – indeed, they are advancing.
It is the context that makes this state of affairs particularly hard to swallow. School funding is nearly 2 per cent lower in real terms than it was at the start of decade, and teachers’ salaries have done even worse than that. Never mind a pay freeze – the average wage of a classroom teacher has actually fallen by nearly £3,000 or 7 per cent, in the past seven years.
But pay for academy leaders has not only managed to defy gravity – it has gone in completely the opposite direction. A recent major analysis of latest MAT accounts confirmed that any kind of brief nod towards academy executive pay restraint was well and truly over. Leaders of the biggest trusts have just seen their already generous pay rocket upwards by nearly a quarter – 23 per cent on average – in a single year.