Union ‘outrage’ at head teachers who earn more than PM

By Rebecca Burns

Head teachers are earning more money than the prime minister, an investigation by the GMB Union has revealed.

The GMB’s research uncovered 11 London-based head teachers whose salary exceeds £150,000, compared to Mr Cameron’s newly-trimmed wage of £142,500.

One primary school head teacher, Mark Elms of Tidemill Primary School in Lewisham, received a total of £276,000 in the year 2009-10.

And Ms Jacqui Vallin, the head of Southfields Community College in Wandsworth received a total remuneration package of £226,381 over the same year.

GMB public services officer Ted Purcell said: “It is outrageous that a head teacher in a local community school should earn more money than the prime minister.

“A pay rise of over £20,000 for one head in Wandsworth is a downright disgrace and a slap in the face for GMB members now facing a pay freeze.”

The Lewisham primary school head’s basic salary of £82,714 was topped up with an additional £100,000 backdated payment for work on a Labour government scheme tackling underachievement.

On top of this, Mr Elm received £19,317 for overtime between 2008 and 2010.

The GMB has voiced fears a “lack of accountability” will allow further salary increases under the new academies scheme, where teachers will have the power to set their own salary.

Mr Purcell said: “There is a complete lack of accountability when schools are opted out of local authority control.

“This demonstrates that opposition to academy status is well founded as these new schools will be a law unto themselves. GMB want to see all schools being excellent local schools accountable to parents, the community and locally elected politicians”.

Both Tidemill Primary School and Southfields Community College have expressed an interest in academy status, according to the GMB.

Education secretary Michael Gove has written to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) seeking a cap on teachers’ salaries in line with the pay of the prime minister.