Academy executives cutting their own pay by up to 40%

Some academy trust chief executives are cutting their own salaries by up to 40 per cent because of funding pressures and concerns about sending the right message to staff, Tes can reveal. 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. She has gone from earning £150,000-£155,000 in 2016, to a salary of £88,913 since June 2017 – a drop of more than 40 per cent.

And Outwood Grange, which runs 22 academies across the North East, Yorkshire and the East Midlands, the remuneration of the chief executive has also gone down.

Sir Michael Wilkins, the founding chief executive of the trust, who retired in September 2016, saw his remuneration decline from £201,000 in 2014-15 to £173,000 in 2015-16.

The current CEO, Martyn Oliver, is paid less still, at £168,675. Mr Oliver turned down a formal written offer of a pay increase following his last performance review, and the trust’s executives have voluntarily refused an annual cost-of-living increase for three years.

While some CEOs have voluntarily restrained their pay, former members of the STRB, which advises the government on teacher pay, said that MAT executive remuneration should come within the body’s remit.

“Like [university] vice-chancellor pay – if you leave it to executive boards or trustees, they can, and do, end up paying salaries that are far too high to be coming out of taxpayers’ money,” said Peter Dolton, who served on the STRB between 2009 and 2011.

Read more Academy executives cutting their own pay by up to 40%

Does self regulated pay work? Should pay scales be set for all MATs? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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