Is a Thurrock headteacher really worth £170,000 a year?

STATISTICS released by the Department of Education has revealed a huge pay gap between Thurrock headteachers.

The accounts for each school are published as part of a comprehensive set of data that includes exam results as well as more general information on the schools.

According to the data, the top earner in Thurrock is Gateway Academy’s Mr Kevin Sadler who earns a whopping £170,000 a year.

Mr Sadler is a chief executive officer of the schools with responsibility for four primary schools.

His salary statement from 2014 is a £25,000 rise in his salary from the previous year.

But it also seems to be boom time for heads of the primary schools that are part of the Gateway Learning Community.

The Head of Lansdowne Academy received £100,000 a year. The Head of Herringham Academy also received a £100,000 a year. Again, according to the school accounts, the head of Herringham saw a massive leap of £35,000 a year in her salary in just one year.

The next "biggest" earner is Ockendon Academy principal, Barbara King. Ms King earns £145,000.

She is followed closely by Gable Hall’s Dr Sophina Asong who earns £120,000. There also appears to be three other members of staff on £100,000.

The head at St Clere’s is on £110,000.

Some might say there is a certain irony in that the head of the only "Outstanding" senior school in Thurrock is also one of the lowest earners but the William Edwards’ accounts reveal that Steve Munday earns a paltry £90,000 a year.

Finally, the lowest earner appears to be the head at Hassenbrook Academy. There salary is £80,000.

You might ask yourself, how there can be a gap of almost £100,000 a year between two heads only a few miles apart. There is an old saying "It is not always what you are worth; It is what you negotiate…"

Some heads may be very good at negotiating with their chair of governors.

Others may point to the laws of the free market. The schools are no longer under the control of the local authority but are essentially, private businesses (just awash with public cash).

We spoke to one teacher, who did not wish to be named, who said: "Sometimes, you have to offer large salaries to attract the best. It is the same in any industry."

We did endeavour to ascertain the salaries of Harris Academy, Ormiston Park Academy and Hathaway Academy but there accounts are general to their sponsor.

Thurrock Council are only responsible for one school, Grays Convent High School.

The subject of Thurrock headteacher’s salaries came up several years ago when it was revealed that superhead John King MBE was on over £250,000. However, Mr King was in charge of two senior schools that he had turned round and made them ‘Outstanding".

You may contrast that with Gateway Academy record over the past two years. Let us know what you think.

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