The Department for Education is refusing to reveal which single-school academy trusts are paying leaders more than £150,000 despite having financial problems, because it does not want them placed under “undue pressure” and says they need a “safe space”.
Last month the department’s Education and Skills Funding Agency wrote to 29 standalone academy trusts that have paid leaders such salaries. Of those trusts, 13 were “at risk of financial difficulties” and were asked to explain their “rationale”.
However, the DfE refused to name any of the trusts concerned.
In a response to a Freedom of Information request by TES, the ESFA has listed all 29 trusts. But it has declined to specify which of them are the 13 that paid high salaries while facing financial problems, angering a teaching union which is calling for more accountability over the spending of public money.
The department’s FOI response states: “While there is a public interest in holding the government to account over its spending and holding academy executives to account over their financial management, it would be unfair to disclose this information.
“Disclosing the information could imply to the relevant trusts that communication with the ESFA is not a safe space and place undue pressure on trusts and or the ESFA to act on a complex issue.
“This could have a prejudicial effect on the ESFA’s ability to work with trusts on issues of pay and financial management, and prevent free and frank discussion.”
Read the full article in the Tes.
Academy executives cutting their own pay by up to 40%
Some academy trust Chief Executives are cutting their own salaries by up to 40% because of funding pressures and concerns about sending the right message to staff.
The news follows mounting controversy about the big salaries and pay rises enjoyed by many academy leaders.
And it comes amid calls for a more structured approach to academy executive pay. Critics of the current system are arguing for an external body to tackle the issue, while one coalition of multi-academy trusts in the North of England is considering introducing “self-regulation”.
Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, the chief executive of Avonbourne International Business and Enterprise Academy Trust – which runs two secondary schools, a primary and a sixth-form college in Bournemouth – has reduced her salary because of financial pressures at her trust.
See the full article and list of pay on the Tes.