Blackpool academies on Government high pay hit list

Damian Hinds
Damian Hinds

Three academy trusts running schools in Blackpool – which have all put jobs at risk through recent ‘restructures’ – have been criticised for paying some of its top brass six-figure sums.

The Department For Education (DfE) has written to 160 academies paying more than £100,000, including the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), Brighter Futures, and Tauheedul Education Trust. Some are paying more than the Prime Minister.

All three trusts said they were following the government’s own guidance on pay, but unions hit out at the high salaries, which were revealed after FCAT announced it would axe three workers between Unity Academy in North Shore and Westminster Primary Academy.

Six people took voluntary redundancy at South Shore Academy, run by Brighter Futures, while six business support staff were hit by a ‘restructure’ at Highfield Leadeship Academy, also in South Shore and run by Tauheedul.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said school leaders should only be paid more than the Prime Minister in ‘exceptional circumstances.’

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “This should be a wake-up call to government to stop schools paying heads what they want while paying teachers what they can get away with.”

A spokesman for FCAT, which in April said it was paying one trustee £72,720 and said the other nine were unpaid, said it determines bosses’ pay ‘in line with the Academies Financial Handbook through a remuneration committee which consists of the chairman of the trust and a minimum of two additional independent non-executive directors’.

He said: “The trust has and will continue to pay salaries to senior post holders that are necessary to attract the particular calibre and impact required to take schools that are in difficult places forward.”

A Tauheedul spokesman said: “We deliver high-quality education to thousands of children and young people across the trust’s schools. It is essential that we are able to recruit and retain excellent staff, at all levels, and reward them accordingly.

"Salaries are set by the trust board after sector benchmarking, taking into account DfE guidance and performance in all areas.”

A Brighter Futures spokesman added: “Senior pay decisions are made following a robust process, mirrored at all levels. We use appraisals and we benchmark pay using data from similar organisations and the national guidance in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions. We have also applied guidance from the National Governors’ Association in making decisions.”