Four academies in East Sussex have been ordered to justify executive staff salaries over £100,000, in a Government drive to curb ‘excessive’ high pay.
Academies Minister Lord Agnew has written to 28 chairs of trustees today (Tuesday, February 5) asking for them to provide more details on the pay of executives who earn more than £150,000 – and those earning £100,000 if two or more people in a school earn a six-figure salary.
Schools which have been contacted include College Central in Eastbourne, Cuckmere House School in Seaford, Lansdowne School in Hailsham, and New Horizons School in St Leonards-on-Sea – part of the Sabden Multi-Academy Trust.
In the letter, Lord Agnew calls on the chairs to work with the Government on the “divisive issue” of high pay, asking them to justify salaries and reassure ministers they are not “diverting financial resources that could be more effectively deployed on the front line of education”.
More than five per cent of pupils in state-funded schools in England are now studying in an academy or free school.
Lord Agnew said: “Academies are raising standards in schools across the country – replacing underperforming council-run schools in some of the most disadvantaged areas and helping young people to raise their aspirations through a better standard of education.
“The best academies place freedom in the hands of school leaders but with that autonomy comes greater accountability and transparency, which is exactly why I am insistent the salaries of their executives are justifiable.
“And just because we are advocates of the academies programme, doesn’t mean we won’t call a trust out where we believe they are not acting responsibly.
“The overwhelming majority of academies are behaving responsibly and by publicly challenging the minority of trusts that are not complying with this request, we will ensure that every pound of public money is spent as effectively as possible to continue improving the standard of education in our schools.”