The Government has confirmed that it is to look at curtailing some of the excessive pay claims being made by the head of academy trusts. The decision comes after a series of pay scandals, including the revelation that Sir Dan Moynihan was earning over £500,000 a year for his role with the Harris Federation.
Lord Agnew, the Academies Minister, said in a statement:
“With academies helping to drive up standards in schools across the country – and more than 50% of children now studying in academies and free schools – it is important that trusts have clear guidance to help them use every pound to deliver a high standard of education.
Over the last 18 months I have committed to curbing excessive executive pay in a tiny minority of trusts to ensure it is fair and proportionate to the task in hand, and this approach is already yielding positive results. This new guidance will help all trusts set executive salaries at a level that is publicly justifiable.”
A number of Conservative backbenchers have suggested that they would oppose legislation to force all schools to become academies by 2020. The small Conservative majority could mean that Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, would be unable to secure sufficient support to pass the proposed legislation.
Graham Brady, the Conservative MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said that he supported academies, but added:
“I hope the white paper will be adapted to reflect the need to support and ease the process, rather than impose the change in areas where schools are already performing very well”.
Tim Loughton, the Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, also said that he supported academies but added “as a Conservative I also believe in choice”.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, defended the proposal at this week’s Prime Minister’s Question Time.
“There have been serious breaches of the Academies Financial Handbook including serious concerns about financial management, control and governance”.
The Guardian said:
“An academy chain responsible for five secondary schools that was praised by David Cameron and Michael Gove is to be stripped of all its schools, according to sources close to the Department for Education”.
The newspaper added that a Whitehall source had said:
“This shows the academy system is working, with the EFA identifying issues and regional schools commissioners intervening and rebrokering effectively, as part of a robust system of oversight”.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has backed strike action after a vote at their annual conference. The strike action would be in opposition to the Government’s White Paper on Education, including the plan to turn all schools into academies by 2022.
Although a strike may not take place there is also the possibility that other teaching unions could join in with strike action on the same dates.
“Our union recognises the dangers, understands the issues and focuses on the campaigns that will make a difference. It is essential that we stand together with our fellow professionals. We are a union that stands up for education and protects our members in their workplaces. We should say No to Nicky; No to forced academies, No to privatisation and No to ludicrous testing and accountability systems”.
A spokesman for the Department of Education said:
“As set out in our white paper we are determined to continue with our vision to ensure every single child has the best possible education, as well as raising the status of the profession. It would be refreshing to see the NUT doing likewise”.