Suffolk: Best paid head teachers in the county revealed

Click on the table above showing the highest paid head teachers in Suffolk Click on the table above showing the highest paid head teachers in Suffolk

Thursday, June 26, 2014
8:22 AM

Suffolk’s highest paid teachers in the maintained sector earn more than £100,000 a year, it can be revealed.

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A list of the twenty best-paid teachers in the maintained sector has been released under the Freedom of Information Act.

It shows head teachers, and some deputy head-teachers, earning between £70,000 and just over £100,000 a year.

Although all the head teachers listed preside over schools maintained by the local authority, their salaries are in fact determined by governing bodies.

All but 15 of the schools cater for secondary-age children, with the head teachers at two middle schools and two special schools also earning a place. One primary school head teacher also made it into the top twenty best paid.

The salaries are a reflection, according to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), of the increasing demands placed upon school heads.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the ASCL, said: “School and college leaders have an immensely difficult and challenging role that at times can be extremely stressful, especially when they are constantly responding to the latest education reform.

“In addition to this, school and college leaders have ever increasing accountability measures. Their remuneration needs to reflect this.

“However, pay is not the main reason why so many aspire to leadership – the majority of school and college leaders believe that they truly can make a difference to the lives of the many young people that they are responsible for.”

Lisa Chambers of Suffolk County Council is similarly convinced that salaries, while important, are not what drive people to become head teachers.

Asked if salary was the most effective way to attract the best head teachers to Suffolk, she said: “No, I don’t think it is the most effective way as we would want someone who has the drive and ambition to inspire the young people within their school; which is not directly linked to salary.”

Nonetheless, recruiting the best teachers remains a top priority for Suffolk County Council in their Raising the Bar programme.

Lisa Chambers said: “It is vitally important as strong and decisive leadership is the key to the success of in ensuring pupils achieve their potential.

“One of the main objectives for the Raising the Bar initiative is teacher recruitment which will be a focused and sustained effort to attract and retain good and outstanding teachers in Suffolk.”

However recruiting head teachers, particularly in the primary sector, is not always straight forward.

Chris Harrison, who represents the National Association of Head Teachers in Suffolk, said that at the moment on a national basis half of all vacant head teacher positions at primary schools have to be re-advertised.

One primary school head, who did not wish to be named, said: “The average for a primary school head teacher is £51,000 or £52,000.

“That’s an average nationally and in Suffolk where there are a large number of small schools in rural areas you’ll find that that would be an aspiration for them. The reality will be there are a number of head teachers who will be nowhere near £50,000.”

Recruiting head teachers for primary schools, he said, was made more difficult because of the small differential between the lowest paid and the highest paid members of staff.

“The expectations, the role and the accountability of head teachers is high and their salaries certainly in the primary sector are not that much more significant than the highest paid teachers in schools hence the difficulty in recruitment.

“When a head teacher vacancy becomes available the governors need to select someone to meet the agenda of that school. You need to have enough people apply to make a selection. All too frequently these days there aren’t enough people to make a selection, it’s just an appointment.

“It’s not good if schools and governors are not able to select the best person for that school.”

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