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Bloody cheap if you ask me

Ministers face calls today to curb the “fat cat” salaries of academy school chiefs, after it emerged that more than 100 earn more than the prime minister — with some enjoying lucrative perks such as company BMWs.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, a former chief inspector of schools, and Lord Adonis, a former Labour schools minister, told The Sunday Times that ministers must cap salaries for academy high-earners. Adonis wants to prevent anyone being paid more than £150,000, the salary paid to Theresa May.

The row comes as school budgets are being cut, teachers face a 1% pay rise and parents are being asked to pay for basics at state schools, including textbooks.

Adonis said: “It is a simple question of morality and use of public funding.”

The highest-paid chief executive of an academy trust is Sir Daniel Moynihan, of the Harris Federation, a chain of 44 schools, most of them high-performing. He earns £420,000.

That’s some £10,00 a school to achieve this:

The academies’ sponsor is Phil Harris (Lord Harris of Peckham), former chairman and chief executive of Carpetright. The federation is a not-for-profit charitable organisation. The group is generally oversubscribed in most of its Academies, particularly Harris City Academy Crystal Palace with 2,016 applicants for 180 spaces in 2014.[1]

The Chief Executive Officer is Dr Daniel Moynahan, previously Principal of the Harris City Academy Crystal Palace. He is the full-time CEO at the Harris Federation Headquarters in East Croydon.

All Harris academies inspected by Ofsted have been rated either ‘Outstanding’ which is Ofsted’s highest rating or ‘Good’ which is the second highest rating.[2] Some of these, such as Westwood Girls’ College and Battersea Park School, now Harris Academy Upper Norwood, and Harris Academy Battersea, were in Ofsted’s category of Special Measures before being run by the Harris Federation.[3][4] An example of the success of the federation is Harris Academy Chafford Hundred who were described as “outstanding” by Ofsted with a score of 30/31.[5]

The group of schools is run as a federation rather than a chain and it claims that the autonomy of its Principals, who are ‘free to innovate’, is at the heart of its success.[6]

In 2016, the Department for Education recognised the Harris Federation as a “top performer” in primary and secondary education, when comparing the performance of different multi-academy trusts.[7] In July 2016, researchers at the Education Policy Institute found that “at primary level the Harris Federation is the highest performing school group in England – the improvement it has made is equivalent to pupils making around one and a half times more progress than average”.

I assume the demand rto cap such salaries is simply because we can’t have people showing up public sector management in such a manner, can we?

At which point, of course, they can fuck off.

32 thoughts on “Bloody cheap if you ask me”

  1. Of course they’re going to be more successful- they can be at least somewhat selective, and chose better students.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that- if grammar schools are to be sabotaged, they need to be replaced by something.

  2. So a person with oversight of 44 schools across a wide area and all performing well at the very least – what salary should they be on?
    What is the comparable salary elsewhere with such budgets, staffing, sites etc?

    Seems to me that its a position and salary that others can aspire to with other groups of schools.

    Do we not want schools to be doing good or outstanding?

    All comes down to the question – does this position add value with this person in it?

  3. Adonis (FFS) is a Bliar crony.

    For that reason alone any verbalisation of his, be it as innocuous as “What’s the time?” (no “please” likely from such a creature) should be met by “Fuck off scum” as the default response.

  4. “It is a simple question of morality and use of public funding.”
    No Andrew in the first place it’s not simple and bringing your morality into it makes it even harder.

    Its one thing to say the money would be better spent on giving teachers an extra what would it be 0.25% pay rise. Yes, the ones leaving at the margin could make a difference to educational achievements of the kids. If that money was spread out across the lot of them or concentrated in performance related pay then would form the basis of an argument but please come back to us when you can turn that into demonstrable case please. You see when it comes to education the only moral case is to spend each buck on whatever gives the most educational bang.

  5. Adonis was Tranport Secretary for a while. He voiced his displeasure about top salaries at government-owned Network Rail; but I can’t find any evidence that he moaned about salaries paid to bosses at private rail operators such as Virgin, Arriva, or FirstGroup.

    In neither case did he actually do anything about it, preferring instead the British way of moaning about something with the veiled threat of “restrain yourself or we will legislate to restrain you”.

  6. Paul Rain,

    I’m waiting for the penny to drop after all schools become academies and no-one can hide the thick, lazy, violent kids.

    There’s things I like about academies, but a school near me that rocketed up the table a few years after becoming an academy? Budgetary control doesn’t make that much difference. The difference between “OK” schools and “outstanding” on kids’ outcomes is very little.

  7. BiS: Maybe then the educational establishment will come to their senses and realise that not everyone benefits from the same techniques, and I don’t mean ‘aural’ vs ‘visual’ ‘learning styles’?

    Hahah just joking, then it will just turn into a conspiracy that certain pupils are being put into ‘bad schools’. No bad pupils of course.

  8. When politicians keep their salaries artificially low because of feelings then its not surprising when the rest of the country ends up with salaries higher than the PM.

  9. The directors of non-profits Nuffield Trust and Royal Opera House are earning twice as much as this guy.
    It’s good that his salary has been made public though, imv.

  10. So the question should be “what are the plans for expanding this federation?”.
    Or maybe “who’s going to set up a similar federation?”.
    There’s a fundamental difference in approach, even though the goal is identical between the education establishment and the Free/Private sector.
    Do we insist on improving all schools at once, which implies a small improvement in each school and holding some back.
    Or do we promote good schools so that ever more pupils attend such, with the ultimate aim of having all pupils at good schools.
    Since the definition of a good school is itself subjective, since holding schools back does not create improvement in others, and since a substantial number of pupils get little benefit out of education beyond the three Rs, I’m firmly in the latter camp.

  11. The problem IMHO is not over-payment for great performance but that, in general, governance of schools is so poor that lousy heads can be paid a large amount of money for poor performance.

    School governors are typically unpaid community representatives and few if any know that their job is to hold the Chief Executive to account.

    In business, Non-Executive Directors are hired for expertise and paid accordingly, perhaps this should be the way forward in education.

  12. “more than 100 earn more than the prime minister”

    If they EARN more than the Prime Minister, it’s because they DO more than the Prime Minister.

    “ministers must cap salaries for academy high-earners”

    So, they must be paid less than they earn. A wonderful way to destroy your workforce. The French Revolution started on less.

  13. Rob – what is wrong with earning £420k at a not for profit?
    He’s not making a profit, he’s earning a wage.

    You are aware that not for profits do pay staff?

  14. OT.

    Alcohol content of Carling is weaker than advertised, owners tell tax tribunal

    Firm avoids £50 million tax bill after admitting actual level of alcohol is lower – but insists customers have not been misled

    #Carling, #Carling tastes like piss
    #Carling, #Carling is weaker than piss.

    I imagine that they will be paying a whole lot less tax next year.

    Interesting thing is though, just like it took an outsider to discover VW shenanigans (and the rest of the industry remains very quiet about it), it took HMRC to discover that Molson Coors were watering their beer.

    So who else is also watering their beer ?

    (it might be easier to list those that aren’t)

  15. re: OT.

    If Treesa has any sense she should say 4% means 4% (and you will be charged duty accordingly), no more EU short measures for us in the Brexit Free World.

  16. Given his responsibilities, and if he’s succeeding at his job by objective measures, then ok – though £420k sounds a little on the high side to me. Sounds to me like the gravy train — on that lucrative border of the public-private sector, cf university vice-chancellorships and the quangocracy. What would it cost to run each school separately without him? How do he and his support staff add value? Some evaluation and assessment is needed….No?

  17. With 42 schools in the group the CEO is hardly likely to get involved in many issues at single schools. More likely to be coordinating policy or masterminding future expansion. If I was a parent there I wouldn’t mind, unless I was being asked to pay for text books.

  18. Bloke in North Dorset

    When the PM’s salary is calculated it should also include the benefits of access to a very nice country mansion, chauffeur driven cars, forlock tugging civil servants to massage the already massive ego, hob bobbing with other world leaders, access to fawning business leaders falling over themselves to be in a position to over 6 figure sinecures as “advisers” for doing SFA other than greasing a few palms etc.

    Nobody climbes the greasy pole for the notional salary.

  19. A mate of mine crunched the numbers on a few company cars and apparently BMWs worked out cheaper than Fords because the BMW held its value better.

    That said, the chief executive of Pembrokeshire council managed to blag himself a Porsche company car…

  20. BiND

    And let’s not forget the lucrative memoirs, consultancies, interviews etc that follow on (not unreasonably) from having been PM of the UK. In which case the salary doesn’t seem inappropriately low, particularly given how many status-crazed egotists crave the job.

    Why then provide an incentive? Perhaps the post of PM should receive generous expenses only? On the other hand, consider the unintended consequences of that…, if Blair hasn’t raised tnem already.

  21. Bloke in North Dorset


    We should be pay them a salasry, not least so we can tax them. Not that it is likely to register.

  22. A mate of mine crunched the numbers on a few company cars and apparently BMWs worked out cheaper than Fords because the BMW held its value better.

    Yet Lex (who know a thing or two about residual values) will lease you a Ford for rather less than the equivalent Beemer.

    I recall a meeting with our purchasing manager and the CEO and FD of a startup car leasing company who were offering to supply our company fleet for a remarkably low price. They were very proud of their pricing model and showed us (under non-disclosure) the Excel spreadsheet on which it was based. I’ll never forget their faces when we pointed out that they’d made a beginner’s mistake in cutting and pasting one of the columns.

  23. BiND. A full staffed house in Prime central London, a fully staffed country house, transport between the two by chauffeur driven limo/helicopter. Best seats in the house for any sporting/cultural event, international travel by private jet. Rent out your previous home(s) – usually bought and paid for by the taxpayer, up to 140k of tax free ‘office expenses’. To be honest, I struggle to think what they need the salary for?

  24. Perhaps the MPs, cabinet members and PM should get everything supplied by government and then no need for salary.
    With food allowance limit in place for MPs, higher food allowance for cabinet (with a house rather than apartment to live in), household bills covered completely and so on.
    Those keeping a house to return to at weekends etc can have house bills paid by government.

  25. “no need for salary”

    You make a good point. They can get all the MPs they want WITHOUT paying them anything, so why pay them anything?

  26. So, they should pay May a lot more so we won’t get any more of these stupid “makes more than Theresa May” comparisons.

    People have gotten raises for less.

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