Bradford Council has revealed that the district’s top head teachers are being paid taxpayer-funded salaries of more than £100,000 a year – but refused to say at which schools they work to protect their privacy.
Details of the district’s top ten teachers’ pay packets – ranging from £80,000 to £115,000 – were released by Bradford Council following a Freedom of Information request by the T&A.
Six of those teachers are being paid more than £100,000, with two earning between £105,000 and £115,000 a year. The average secondary head’s wage is just over £70,000.
And the number of teachers earning six-figure sums could be even higher when salaries paid to heads in academies, which have not been published, are taken into account.
The number of heads’ “exceptional salaries” has prompted calls for greater transparency so heads and their schools can be held accountable to the public and parents.
However, a Bradford Council spokesman said: “Although we accept it is in the public interest to disclose salary scales we do not believe any exceptional circumstances exist where the public interest in disclosure of actual salaries of individual head teachers outweighs the head teachers’ right to privacy.”
Robert Oxley, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Parents and taxpayers should be able to routinely scrutinise pay deals so they can judge for themselves whether they’re getting good value for money.
“By refusing to properly disclose the information the Council is making it impossible for taxpayers to hold their school to account. Many public sector workers are facing a pay freeze as part of an effort to get the public finances under control, and senior teachers have a role in this process to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent in the right areas.”
Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford Council’s executive member in charge of education, said the high wages were partly due to increased competition from academy schools, which can pay staff what they like and attract top candidates.
Coun Berry said: “I do not like payments of £100,000 a year for a head teacher at times of austerity.
“One of the problems is that Governments get put under pressure to get the best person in when they have got a school that needs improving and will pay higher salaries. I believe that is pushing an inflation in salaries which is hard to turn around.
“To bring this back under control, we need a proper national framework of salaries which really should apply to all schools.”
A spokesman for the head teachers’ union, the NAHT, said paying high salaries to teachers who deliver exceptional results across several schools is “probably justified” but said there should be an upper limit heads are paid.
The spokesman said: “The process for determining pay should be totally transparent.
“The NAHT would, however, be concerned if details of individual pay deals were disclosed. This is not to be secretive but to acknowledge the unique circumstances of head teachers; they are not distant chief executives of remote quangos but vital, frontline leaders embedded in their local community.
“Disclosure therefore runs real risks for them and offers little benefits in terms of accountability for the profession overall.”