Academy heads' pay not always justified, says Wilshaw

The large salaries enjoyed by chief executives at some of England’s academy chains is not justified by the performance of the schools they run, Sir Michael Wilshaw has said.

According to a report from the BBC, Ofsted’s chief inspector believes that many academes are sitting on large amounts of money that could be used to improve standards.

Wilshaw has reportedly expressed these views in a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, which condemned the fact that many academy heads are paid huge salaries while pupils are left with poor results.

The letter highlighted failings at seven multi-academy trusts and warned that problems at these trusts often mimicked those found in poor performing local authority run schools.

Wilshaw wrote: "Given these worrying findings about the performance of disadvantaged pupils and the lack of leadership capacity and strategic oversight by trustees, salary levels for the chief executives of some of these MATs do not appear to be commensurate with the level of performance of their trusts or constituent academies.

"The average pay of the chief executives in these seven trusts is higher than the prime minister's salary, with one chief executive's salary reaching £225,000. This poor use of public money is compounded by some trusts holding very large cash reserves that are not being spent on raising standards.”

He also criticised the amount spent on consultancy services, saying: "Furthermore, some of these trusts are spending money on expensive consultants or advisers to compensate for deficits in leadership. Put together, these seven trusts spent at least £8.5m on education consultancy in 2014-15 alone."

In response to Wilshaw’s comments, Roy Perry, chairman of the Local Government Association's children and young people board, said: "Councils are education improvement partners and not a barrier to change.

"Only 15 per cent of the largest academy chains perform above the national average in terms of progress made by pupils, compared with 44 per cent of councils, while more than 80 per cent of maintained schools are rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

"It's vital that we concentrate on the quality of education and a school's ability to do the very best for all children, rather than on the legal status of a school."

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