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Should there be a salary cap in education?

10:07 UK time, Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The GMB union has described as "outrageous" the salary of a head teacher who was paid more than the prime minister last year. How much is too much for good teachers?

Mark Elms, from Tidemill Primary School in south London, received more than £200,000 in salary, bonuses and backdated payments - £51,957 of which was from a 2008/09 Labour government plan to tackle underachievement in disadvantaged areas.

The top of the pay scale for head teachers is £109,000 for those working in the largest London state schools, but governors are allowed to offer more.

Does education need salary capping? Should governors have the power to increase staff bonuses? Is the prime minister's salary a fair yardstick by which to compare payment in other professions?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Whoever you are, what ever you do, you are worth what you can get at the time you make a deal. At a senior level employment packages are negotiated on a face to face basis, you have to convince the employer you are worth what you are asking for. Whoever this was did a good deal it seems but it had to be agreed with the school governors, don't blam whoever it was for doing a good deal, if you don't like it then take it up with the governors.

  • Comment number 2.

    His pay was £82,714. This is fair enough in my view for a head teacher in London.

    The rest was for another job and overtime owed. His salary wasn't £200,000 so this isn't a good example to use and I hope that the individual doesn't have to justify it.

    As for the question, people should be paid what they are worth If you have to pay top whack for better people, then that's what you pay. On the same theme, those that don't perform don't get paid top whack.

  • Comment number 3.

    So he'll be the best-paid head teacher in the country then? And he works at a difficult school?

    Bit of a non-story, then, isn't it. People get paid considerably more money for gambling with other people's money, or kicking a ball across a pitch. At least this guy is actually contributing to society,

    Oh, and shame on these unions! Are they SERIOUSLY asking for LESS PAY!? I hear some union leaders are being paid too much....

  • Comment number 4.

    It is quite obvious that we cannot afford such outrageous salaries, or are all the reports about the catastrophic state of the public finances wrong?!!! It just goes to show how profligate the last Labour government (I use the term loosely, as they did not "govern") were, with OUR money. A gross abuse of taxpayers money and someone should be brought to task over it. The country just cannot afford its public sector and we are hurtling towards a chasm. Common seanse is desperately needed... and soon.

  • Comment number 5.

    Another day, another person getting a 'disgusting wage'.

    I can understand it in this case as its public money.

    But I do think there is a rather nasty, snide culture of envy emerging in the UK, fully encouraged by the right wing tabloids.

    People who attack footballers wages, for example - like they believe the money would otherwise be going to charity.

    Lawyers, bankers, accountants, all people in th private sector who i've recently seen being described as receiving 'a disgusting wage'.

    Any wage, public or private sector, should be decided soley by market forces.

    And people should try not to be so jelous of the circumstances of others.

  • Comment number 6.

    £109k is far too much for a head teacher, there should be a common pay scale across all civil servants and there shouldn't be any of them on more than the PM.

  • Comment number 7.

    The GMB Union's thinking is completely opposite to what it should be. Head teachers should be paid more than business executives. Teachers pay should be on a par with those working for banks in the City. The rewards for being good at education should be so high that competition to become and remain an educator is higher then the competition to be an executive. Education is so fundamentally important to the future of our children and our country that no expense should be spared.

    So, Ted Purcell, get your priorities right and stop being outraged about high pay and be outraged by the low pay.

  • Comment number 8.

    I really find it difficult to comprehend the process by which any individual employed in the public sector could possibly negotiate a £270k remuneration package for 'managing' a primary school with 335 pupils! It is seriously a perversion of any concept of 'public service' to possess an arrogance of worth which can justify a 'fee' of over £800 per pupil as a Head Teacher...I would expect the most expensive public schools in the world represent better value for money.

    I think these strange and odd 'salary' packages and negotiated public sector contracts are merely a reflection of the incompetence, moral bankruptcy and corruption infesting every part of our society!

    It is truly disgusting...and the private sector is even worse

  • Comment number 9.

    If you pay mangement-by-results then do not complain about the methods used to get those results.

    When we had 'O' levels headmasters and teachers who wanted to be top of the school league tables rigged their performance results by not allowing pupils to take exams where they were not certain to get top grades. The average number of 'O' levels taken in the UK per pupil was 10. The schools at the top of the league tables had an average of 6 per pupil.

    If you dangle the carrot of performance related pay in front of headmasters they will be tempted to do what is necessary to get the bonuses - and nothing else. If your child (and others) needs extra resources and the head is on budget then they will not be provided.

    It has been shown, with the bankers, that unfettered bonuses and extra benefits promote risk and reckless behaviour from so-called 'talented' people.

    I for one would like to know what this head has actually done to get this amount of money.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yes of course there should be a cap. It is just plain wrong that any school head should be paid anywhere near the PM never mind more.

  • Comment number 11.

    Yes there probably should be a cap on basic salary. However additioanl payments were made for special projects above and beyond his contracted role, back pay and overtime.

    Whether he should have received overtime is another matter and if the terms of his contract say he is entitled to then fair enough.

    All that most see is the figure of £200,000 whether by mis-reporting or otherwise.

    £100,000 does seem like a massive amount for an additional income however needs to be measured on the basis and terms of the project.

    If it delivered nett value of circa 100Million then £100,000 bonus seems reasonable.

    Provided that this addional project work was not carried out in the time he was employed under his basic contract nor the overtime claimed was not to catch up on the time lost to working on the project then everything seems above board. If however he was claiming additional income whilst under contract in his substantial role a la many MPs do then it needs to be scrutinised.

    But as the benchmark as per recent news stories allows MPs to be too inebriated to perform one of their basic function (voting in the house) results in a slapped wrist then the bar isn't too high (pun intented).

  • Comment number 12.

    TioTerry - yes you can't blame the Heads concerned for making the best deal they can but there should be a sensible gap that stops governers from wasting money like this. Best pay very often doessn't equal best results.

  • Comment number 13.

    I had no idea teachers could claim for overtime. If that's the case, I'm owed thousands!

    On a serious note, fair play to him. He's "Outstanding", clearly has the support of parents, and does good community based work. Dont' we wish all our Headteachers were like him?

  • Comment number 14.

    "Outstanding Teacher (Ofsted's words) claims back overtime and back pay on top of normal wage"

    Not much of a headline really, is it?

    He was an outstanding teacher in a difficult school being paid a fairly average salary for his role (80K is not that much for a manager of his seniority, public or private), but a bit of (completely deserved) overtime and back pay inflated a couple of payslips.

    If we're picking targets for salary cuts let's not start with outstanding managers of difficult schools and shy away from using 'OMG 200,000 IS A BIG NUMBER' as the foundation of our arguments.

  • Comment number 15.

    Its quite simply a scandalous use of public resources but is not unique, some Cheif Exec of Councils earn excessive amounts.

    How on earth can a Head Teacher or a Council boss earn more than the man running the country?!?

    look forward to the clamp down

  • Comment number 16.

    Yes there should be a cap on the top salaries of any area of employment. The employers have a responsibility to ensure decent wages for ALL of its employees. An employee has the responsibility to do the job they are contracted to do, for a decent wage, and not demand over inflated wages above their coleagues. A decent wage is one that can allow a person to have a good standard of life and enable them to run a home quite comfortably and to have holidays with their family; it does not mean having a Porsche in the garage and two or three homes round the world and 3 - 4 holidays a year in the bahamas!!!
    The teachers, librarians, administrators and cooks etc also make a school work. No teacher or head teacher would be able to work if all the other staff did not do a brilliant job every day but they never get good wages and i find that very deplorable.
    In regards to the man, who is in the news re small London school, could he not have done the same job for half his wage? If he cannot then maybe he is not the best person for the job because he put the money ahead of his desire to do the job.

  • Comment number 17.

    It's too much.

    I know some parents have said he's worth it but we've heard how it was made up of constituent funds. Where are the local authority mandarins telling us exactly how it is justified?

    That's £100k that could employ 3 more teachers.

  • Comment number 18.

    Public sector employees are paid from the taxes collected from general public. With Government trying to get the debt of the country down, salaries such as these are over the top. However good the headtecher be, his or any other public servant salary should not exceed the Prime minister salary. Money should be spent on getting good teachers or training the existing one as they are the one on the frontline. Performance related pay should be capped to avoid such excesses in salaries.

  • Comment number 19.

    I don't understand why the media are targeting this one individual, whose salary is just over £80,000. There are about 1000 headteachers in the UK who salary is around £150,000 basic! So why focus on this guy? From what I've heard, he's done a excellent job, and if he's put in that much overtime, he deserves to be compensated for it.

    Come on guys. How's about we focus on the really outrageous salaries, like footballers who get paid £100,000 a week. At least Mark Elms is providing a valued service in educating children, which is more than can be said of footballers and the like.

  • Comment number 20.

    The point is that we as taxpayers are paying for these outrageous levels of pay, and yet, the school governors set the rates of pay. Things must change.

  • Comment number 21.

    Ah, the joy of spending other people's money. Of course school governers would be more sensible if the cash was coming out of their own pockets, but it's not. They can indulge themselves by giving head teachers colossal amounts of taxpayers' cash, so why would they show any restraint?

  • Comment number 22.

    With examples like this its easy to see how public spending has got out of control.

    As for overtime payments - if he was in the private sector, a Manager would not expect nor ask for a payment!

    Lets not all have a go at teaching assistants, or teachers, BUT there has to be greater transparancy about ALL public wage packages above £100K - and by wages I mean that "bonuses" need to be included as part of the package

  • Comment number 23.

    Local authorities are accountable to the electorate, whereas school governors are not. It is therefore unacceptable that school governors should set teachers' pay at more than double the national standard.

  • Comment number 24.

    We have all gone bonkers.

    200K for a headteacher?? - utterly insulting to the vast majority of teachers who work so hard in implementing ill thought out policies, whilst in many cases being held responsible for the whole social development of children. Plus working almost every evening and weekend...

    Of course its still the case teachers are get ridiculed by ambitious third rate news reporters looking for the soft targets, as illustrated in the poor quality Panorama programme. I'm embarassed for the BBC, I find it hard to describe it as a documentary..


  • Comment number 25.

    Members of parliament earn £65'000 a year topped up by £150'000 a year expense account and if you look at you can see that each and every one of the 600 mp's claimed 150k every year for the past five yrs . But hey lets attack people on benefits who get £5k a year and lets point the finger at anyone else in the public sector so we can justify cutting everyone elses salaries at the same time increasing the cost of living for everyone. Seriously i cant believe people are falling for this nonsense .

  • Comment number 26.

    You can't really compare the two jobs like-for-like. One job involves a man looking after a bunch of infants who hurl insults and don't understand the true value of things, and the other job is the headmaster.

    If he's turned the school around, he deserves all the cash he can get. Why are we always quick to critize success?

  • Comment number 27.

    The GMB union bosses are only jealous because Mark Elms earns marginally more than they do, the difference being that this guy actually does something useful for the country in teaching the future generation of the UK as opposed to the unions who once again seem hell bent on destroying it.

  • Comment number 28.

    This story is a somewhat complicated one, given that the largest part of this Heat Teacher's payment was for an additional job carried out, one assumes, in his own time (though, in my experience, I find it hard to imagine that a Head Teacher has enough personal time to carry out a job commensurate with a £100K payment.

    The central issue, though, is the continued focus on the heads of organisations as being "worth" very high salaries. The school at which this Head Teacher is clearly highly successful, and t may be argued that this means that he is "worth" a very high salary. Perhaps. But, speaking as a teacher, I can assure everyone that the success of this school is not predicated upon the qualities of the Head Teacher alone. There will be many very highly capable, dedicated hard-working teachers in that school who will be working many hours outwith their contractual requirement, and will be doing so without any prospect of "overtime".

    And this reflects he problem we have more broadly in society. We divide the workforce into two groups; on the one hand we have the "high fliers" in the management class who are rewarded for success, but who rarely suffer for failure - incompetence is usually rewarded with a well-paid secondment where they can do no harm, or a handsome severance package. On the other hand there are the "drones" - people who actually do the work - who are rarely rewarded for success, but who are cast aside without a thought in the case of failure.

  • Comment number 29.

    This guy is doing something valuable to the community and trying to provide children with a future. He deserves it.

    To note too that his salary is £82k. He had to do extra work for the rest.

    And anyway, this should not even be a discussion when these people provide an essential service to the future of both individuals and the country. Where would we be without education. Where as people (footballers) do a lot less and get that a week.

  • Comment number 30.

    This seems to be the flavour of the month, finding supposed 'excesses' in public sector spending, and attacking New Labour for it.
    The £200,000 was NOT this teacher's 'salary' - should there be a salary cap? Yes! Would it apply to this case? No!
    Why does this teacher need this sort of money? Becuase he's helped to transform a school that wasn't performing very well.
    Why wasn't the school performing very well? Firstly becuase it's in a deprived area, and secondly because very few of the pupils have English as a first language.
    Why do very few puils have english as a first language? Because britain takes in immigrants from all over the world, and sensibly houses them in the most deprived places in the country.
    Why does britain take in immigrants from all over the world? That's a question for another HYS forum...

  • Comment number 31.

    £200,000 for the head of a first-rate school; £20,000,000 for the head of a third-rate bank. I know which provides better value for money.

  • Comment number 32.

    The salary gap is widening, catching up with the massive differences found in the US. It's not a case of these top people being worth more or earning these fantastic wages it's a case of those at the top looking after each other. After all many low paid jobs are as crucial to the smooth running of our country as those further up the salary ladder. It leaves the low paid workers in the position of having no option but to go on strike. They have no other power and it's the only way they have of looking after themselves and each other in the same way the wealthy do. The rich stick together but are the first to condem low paid workers if they do the same. Having a society with a big wealth differences is undesirable it leads to more crime and general disatisfaction. Taxation is the only method of curbing this greed but don't expect any action on this from the super rich on the government front bench in this coalition. Most of the rich avoid tax by employing accountants to find loopholes. All these loopholes could be closed if the desire was there. Government is place to see that tax and laws are the same for all but they do nothing.

  • Comment number 33.

    I have issue with the comparison of "how can....earn more than our Prime Minister?"

    The truth is that our Prime Minister, whoever it is, takes the rap for mistakes by their subordinates and spends a lot of time (and money) raising the country's profile in other nations, but doesn't actually do a lot of "work". The system is set up to avoid the worst excesses of bad Prime Ministers, and the decisions they make are carried out (after interpretation) by the mandarins in Whitehall - the real power of the country.

    In contrast individuals, such as this head teacher, can pour a lot of effort into making a real difference in the lives of others. They are given the power to change things properly and this individual caertainly made a difference. It's debatable whether he was worth quite so much, but that argument stands for the prioma donnas who represented England in the World Cup.

    No, on the whole I think that the salary itself was not excessive, and the various bonuses and overtimes were in the remit of the governors to approve or decline. It's not this man's fault that others don't claim for overtime, or work it unpaid, and he should not be hoist for that. Instead a clear and consistent message should come down from the top as to what the expectations are and what remuneration will be considered. In this way individuals can choose to do more than they get paid for, but on the understanding that it is voluntary. This might be a good idea for private industry to adopt, before too many low paid workers there get the idea that they can claim for the extra hours they work.

  • Comment number 34.

    This proves that there is a need for an official policy on and official pay bands for the public sector.
    It is very unlikely that this head teacher is the only one in the country achieving the results he is achieving and working as hard as he is working.
    So the deal is just unfair on other heads.
    It is also unfair for other public sector workers.
    The deal for working in the public sector is the security and benefits. We do not need to pay a premium to attract the so called best people, particularly with the current job market.

  • Comment number 35.

    Salary caps are a silly idea. If you start capping salaries, the motivation to do a good job fades away. Schools should offer whatever they see fit and within budget. If the school's budget is too big, then that's another story.

    It is awful how a story like this immediately paints a bad picture of someone who is doing a good job. Anyone who sees the headline without reading the story will probably tut and shake their head.

  • Comment number 36.

    All public sector jobs including Whitehall civil servants should have pay scales that do NOT exceed those of the prime minister, cabinet ministers, and MPs.

  • Comment number 37.

    This a perfect storm in a teacup. We've become so angered by the perception of an individual's "value" that the meeja are now selling us stories about people who actually might deserve to be at the top of their payscale with the "implication" (inverts due to the blatent accusatory nature of it) that they're not worth the money as the PM isn't paid that much.

    I think there are a few people around that would question the "value for money" of most of the PMs we've had over the last 30 years.

  • Comment number 38.

    Teachers (including head teachers) all get paid far too much as it is - they work short days and have upteen weeks holiday per year yet they STILL expect to be paid the same, or in a lot of cases, MORE than people who work 37 hours a week for 48 weeks of the year! Hardly fair, is it?!

  • Comment number 39.

    All public sector employees should have their salaries capped.

    When I pay my taxes I do not give the Revenue an open cheque.

  • Comment number 40.

    Teachers'/Head' pay should be regulated and it is.
    This particular head's salary just happened to be bumped up all at once, resulting in a £200,000 payout.
    I don't know the ins and outs of the school's history, but if it was a failing school and he turned it around, then why not reward him. Do you have any idea how hard it is to turn a failing school in a rough area around?

    (Here comes the extreme opinion...)

    As far as wages not being higher than the PMs - well, if I had to choose a head teacher of a good school or Mr Cameron earning more...I'd like Mr Cameron to earn a starting teacher's wage. It's only fair. Then when he's fully qualified to lead the country he can earn a better wage. That's what teachers have to do, why not him?

  • Comment number 41.

    This is a bit of a non story really. The head teacher's basic salary was £82,000 with the rest being money owing to him & payment for extra curricular activities. The unions are shooting themselves in the foot with their criticism, they're usually the loudest voices when their members are being short changed. By all accounts the man in question actually did a good job & contributed positively to his community. He earned what he was paid, which is more than I can say for those gambling with others money on the stock markets. Is it a slow news day today BBC??

  • Comment number 42.

    It is fantastic that an individual who contributes so much to society is rewarded for it. You only need to see the parents support to see how he is valued.

    Anybody saying he is being paid too much should consider the long term impact he is having on society in that area. for example - reducing crime levels, increased employment for years to come etc etc.

    People need to see beyond the numbers that are simply put infront of them and being upset because it is a lot. It sounds to me like he has earned it, I only wish there were more of his kind in these positions because our country would be a far more productive one.

    £200,000 of valuable investment is the way I see it. Well Done Mark Elms!

  • Comment number 43.

    Be cautious about attacking people who work in key sectors such as primary eduaction in the inner city where we all want to see standards raised. The Governors, who take on personal responsibility for the school for no financial reward, will have thought hard about how to retain an acknoowledged high achieving head teacher. A substantial portion of his earnings do not come from the school as he has taken on additional duties. He sounds just the sort of expert we want to keep in education and he should be paid well. The public sector needs such people.

  • Comment number 44.

    I dn't think we can use the Prime Minister's salary as a yardstick as the money they receive in office is nothing compared to what they make when they leave it - look at Tony Blair for instance.

    However, I do think that a salary of £200K for a Head Teacher is indefensible regardless of how good he is. It is simply too high. And as for getting huge amounts of overtime when teachers receive more holidays than almost anyone else, well, that is simply greed.

    Here we see another case of public money being squandered; these public servants, with their gold-plated pensions, generous holiday allowances, early retirement with lucrative pay-offs etc etc. No doubt we all envy them, but quite simply these people have been living high on the hog for far too long and have completely forgotten that it is they who should be serving the public, not the other way round. For the absolutely huge amounts of tax we, the general public pay, the service and value-for-money we receive is woeful. The public sector simply leaches money and who is in charge of the money in the first place? Why, the public sector of course.

  • Comment number 45.

    The head teacher's actual salary is around £80,000 - nice, on the high end but it is a big primary AND doing very well, so reasonable.

    I'm a primary school governor & our head teacher - paid somewhat less for a smaller school & it's his first year of his first headship - doesn't have the time to take on additional contracts to do other things and so supplement his income. He doesn't get paid 'overtime' either although I have found him in school at 6.30 am!

    I thought trades unions usually wanted their members to be paid MORE than they get... and I agree that an 'ordinary' teacher's salary is low.

    Comparisons with prime ministers are invalid: compare like with like. Has Campbell been a positive influence on 335 young lives? Probably not...

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm surprised at the number of people that find this objectionable.

    Surely if being a headteacher is percieved as being a well paid job, then more people will want to be headteachers. That means competition, and competition is a good thing in any business, no? And good quality teachers are pretty important in the future development of this country, aren't they?

    Unionists get off your high horses. Good teachers deserve good rewards and shouldn't be lead to believe that their careers have financial glass ceilings.

    This country needs more good teachers, not more footballing x-factored glamour modeling socialites.

  • Comment number 47.

    Dear me,

    What a lot of fuss about nothing. I propose that the following topics would be much more constructive, in addition to the footballers that have already been raised by other contributors.

    1. Stop the Government hiring “contract workers” on huge contracts and then allowing them to set up as a company and pay 21% rather than 40 or even 50%. Review “Alternative Umbrella Services for example.”
    2. Assume that every “White Van Man” is earning £400 per day and tax them accordingly, unless they can prove otherwise. When was the last time you paid less than this?
    3. Claw back the unpaid alcohol duty from Scottish whiskey that Brown so smugly kept with no raise for 13 years.
    4. Call in the debt owed to us by the banks. If they can afford bonuses, they can pay us back.
    5. Prevent ALL bonus payments to bankers until yours and mine investment portfolio is exceeding inflation. How can you pay a bonus on a product that is underachieving?

  • Comment number 48.

    C'mon BBC what sort of non story is this? The main got paid a wage and then with overtime and backpay he got paid over £200,000. How much tax did he pay? what was the net amount that ended up in his bank account?

    Would someone ask the GMB, who's leader with pay and benefits gets about £100,000 a year, what they feel about Derek Simpson leader of Unite/Amacus receiving about £200,000 a year in pay and benefits?

  • Comment number 49.

    What surprised me about this headteacher's pay was the amount on "overtime". In any management position in the private sector you don't get paid overtime except, perhaps, in very junior positions: you get a salary plus other comp and benefits (eg car, options, bonus etc) but you get paid for delivery not the hours you work. It seems this person got paid a salary and bonuses for delivery AND they got paid overtime. Whether the bonus was earned or not I cannot say, but no manager in the private sector on a salary of £83K will be getting paid overtime, so that needs to stop.

  • Comment number 50.

    Why are we paying overtime to head teachers? I have a daughter who teaches and probably averages 30 hours "overtime" a week. There is no mechanism to be paid for this. This head appears to have struck a remarkable deal with his governors, when you consider that just about every "manager" doesn't qualify for overtime payments. There comes a point in progression where you accept you're being paid to get a job done, not counting hours.

    And being paid for a second job? Well it would be nice to see a truly independent view on just how distinct his first and second jobs are; and indeed how he has managed to find time to do two jobs when even if he's an insomniac, others aren't. Jobs don't get done in isolation, you need to liaise with others. Was this really not going on during hours you'd expect him to be attending to his primary school duties?

    Nobody's thrust this money onto an unwilling recipient. Looks to me that he's either accepted proposals from an incompetent bunch of governors that he knows he should have rejected, or just as likely bamboozled said Governors into agreeing things that any independent person with a brain can see are quite ridiculous.

    Either way, I hope someone's checking out this guy's contract, and examining the process by which these sums of money were apparently agreed. He might be the best teacher in the world- but I still don't think he -or the governors involved- should be in post. Surely their positions are untenable? Whose going to believe that these people put kids first now?

  • Comment number 51.

    I'd rather have a cap on poorly reported stories misinterpreting data to create a 'story'.

    The BBC should alter this story to report the facts correctly..his salary was not £200,000 and you know it.

  • Comment number 52.

    So, the salaries of those who do valuable jobs, like head teachers, should be capped, while those whose jobs are parasitic, like trading in financial markets or of negative value like managing the manufacture of food which endangers the health of those who are foolish enough to eat it, can earn as much as they can get.

    That is capitalism.

    It is sad that today's leaders of trade unions, like the GMB, should be so far of the mark when targeting their criticisms.

  • Comment number 53.

    Yet another example of an individual being rewarded for something his team has helped him achieve. It doesn't matter what the business is, the success or failure is down to the team, it's an insult to reward one or two individuals for something far more people have contributed to. How many people since this planned recession started have been denied a salary increase, or lost their job yet have watched their bosses buy an expensive car or, taken an exotic holiday, perhaps moved in to a luxury home. If you are part of a team they have stolen from you because you as a team member contributed to their wealth. There's more than one way to steal from someone, these parasites, particularly where local authorities are concerned steal from us all. The local board of governors in this case have aided and abetted the theft from the funds by agreeing to the payments. I mean, bonus's for teachers, out of hours bungs, his salary should be ample reward and that would reflect the difficulty or otherwise of his job.

  • Comment number 54.

    Pay the PM more money, not great head teachers less. How about dismissing all the bad teachers, which the Unions ensure just get a transfer ratehr than kicked out of teaching. this guy is good, is respected by the parents and get s a decent salary accordingly. All the slagging off just soudns like jealousy from people that maybe aren't good enough at what they do to get a good salary too. This guy has one of the most important jobs in the country!

  • Comment number 55.

    Hasnt labour gone quiet all of a sudden.

    This is obviously far too much regardless of how stressful the job is. I think a rate of about £60k would be more than sufficient for junior schools rising to £80k for Secondary.

    Bonuses should be there for academic improvement (Increasing pass rates) but only an additional £10k.

    I am going to give up my job and become a headmaster if they get £100k+.

    Yet another public sector worker milking the british tax payers for everything they can.

  • Comment number 56.

    I know that this sounds like a large salary for most of us. It is not particularly large if you look at responsible positions in commerce and industry.

    Trying to align salaries with the PM's salary is not particularly realistic. The PM and MPs are not paid vast sums of money compared with similar positions in any other organisation, which may be why the expenses claims issue arose (but cannot be justified). Many MPs (not all) have a separate income. I doubt that many teachers do.

    If he's outstanding - let's reward him, we need outstanding teachers, do we not? Rather that, than the golden handshakes for the people who have to resign because of the mess they've created, but somehow they still seem to deserve a vast sum of money for having created that mess.

  • Comment number 57.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 58.

    Perhaps the heads of the GMB and Nasuwt would care to divulge their salaries?

    And, why should ANY job be paid the same as the PM? Where's the connection between the roles?

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm struggling to see the problem.

    He was paid about £140,000 a year for the last couple of years - but there was about £60,000 of back-pay which he was owed. He's not earning £200,000 a year...

    He is actually on quite a low salary for a head-teacher but was earning money from a second role for a community project, and his work as head teacher obviously wasn't suffering based on parents' comments. Even with this extra income he was earning less per year than some other head teachers.

    If it's now OK to count back-pay as this year's salary, can we do the opposite - that way I won't need to pay tax, because I'll only be earning £7000 a year for the next 100 years, but I'll be being paid several years in advance. I'm sure the taxman will understand.

  • Comment number 60.

    I think teachers, especially head teachers, should be financially rewarded and incentivised to work in problem, inner city schools if they perform and improve standards. But I think the salary of the head teacher highlighted looked a little excessive.

  • Comment number 61.

    I think there should be a bonus situation established in various lines of employments.

    Everyone starts on the basic salary (i.e. not high) and if they do well, give them extra as reward.

    Ditto to the overpaid bankers and footballers. They get paid too much and because of this they get incompetent. Slashing their wage bill to the bare basics and make them work for rewards and better pay will ensure they're motivated to do their jobs properly.

    Education in this country's a joke. GCSEs and A-levels should be made harder, degrees should have more relevance for jobs and teachers are so bad they cannot control classes anymore. The other day this lady was rejected for a job as a supervisor because of a lack of experience, despite her holding a 1st class honours degree in management! What does that say about education today - it fills your head up with useless crap you'd forget sometime soon.

    A GCSE grade A* today would probably translate to a grade C in my time (96-98).

    I wish this country was more honest with itself, admits its limitations and then work on them instead of continuing being in denial.

    Oh, and ditch 'media studies' and useless and irrelevant classes.

  • Comment number 62.

    23. At 11:41am on 13 Jul 2010, jam4now wrote:

    Local authorities are accountable to the electorate, whereas school governors are not. It is therefore unacceptable that school governors should set teachers' pay at more than double the national standard."

    Read the article...

    This head teacher's salary is £25,000 LESS than the top of the pay scale for head teachers. His salary is about 82,000 pa.

    However, he was effectively doing a second job on a community project. That earned him an extra £100,000 over two years. He wasn't paid during the first year, so he was receiving two year's pay in one year.

    So, his salary is low (possibly too low for the location and situation), but a few extra things meant that a bit of mis-reporting can make it seem as if he's on a massive salary.

  • Comment number 63.

    I would have thought about £100K is a decent enough salary for anyone in this day and age.Paying more,along with huge bonuses and perks just sends the wrong message to everyone else. And the main consequence is that the wage bill for everyone else ends up being cut...Is having lots of people working at or near minimum wage and a few managers paying themselves vast sums really the kind of society we want? I'd be more concerned about making the majority of people working feel motivated,valued and looked after,rather than a tiny few at the top. And of course with schools high wages for the managers means that the budgets are cut new computers,no repairs of old buildings,no school trips,classroom assistants rather than teachers etc etc

  • Comment number 64.

    Politicians are criticising a head teachers salary? ... Oh the Irony ... I wonder if he claimed benefits?

  • Comment number 65.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 66.

    Union leaders are very quick to point their fingers at others, how often do we see their pay and benefits listed?

  • Comment number 67.

    From post number 5:
    People who attack footballers wages, for example - like they believe the money would otherwise be going to charity.

    The harm caused by the footballers wages, apart from what it costs the fans to watch the game and the rest of us to sponsor it whether we want to or not through the products we buy and not to mention the license fee!
    The main harm is how it fuels the greed of others:
    Why would a head teacher consider himself to be worth so much less than a footballer?
    Why would city gents believe professional footballers should be earning more than them?
    Why would a child aspire to become any other professional when they could earn greater wealth and respect through just kicking a ball round.

  • Comment number 68.

    This is the price we put on our children's education and our country's well being - we found the money for the banks now find it for our schools. We need to do whatever it takes to get everyone educated to a level they want to be at, not what an exam or teacher or society decides they are capable of. You can put a price on banks, education is priceless.

  • Comment number 69.

    Clearly yes. There is no excuse to be paying this guy that much. The assumption that only paying huge money attracts the best is plain wrong. Huge money attracts people motivated by huge money. It doesn't attract people with skills, it doesn't attract people with motivation, just greedy people. There are plenty of very skilled people with massively good organisational, personal, motivational skills available for half that. I would suggest that most of the people on such inflated salaries and packages are worth no more than 100k tops, and that the extra money is wasted. This guy is costing the same as what - 5, 6 maybe 8 good teachers?

  • Comment number 70.

    Claw back the unpaid alcohol duty from Scottish whiskey that Brown so smugly kept with no raise for 13 years.

    That won't raise anything. There's no such thing as "Scottish whiskey".

  • Comment number 71.

    Since he had a full time job and we're constantly told how teachers work long hours, it's difficult to see how he managed to fit the "part time" job in!
    On the other hand, if any of this work was done during school time, surely the money should have gone to the school and not the headmaster!

    After all, the only people I know who are allowed to work at their second job during the work time of their main job are MP's!

  • Comment number 72.

    I'm more disgusted at the salaries union barons help themselves too, particularly as their "job" is only to create as much economic instability as they can get away with. Quoted from the Metro as of 1st July 2010:

    "Bob Crow, head of the transport union the RMT, takes home £105,679 a year.

    The average Tube driver earns £40,000 a year and station staff £26,000 but Mr Crow wants his members to launch a ‘class war’ in the wake of a two-year public service pay freeze.

    While the average civil servant earns £22,850 a year, Mark Serwotka, head of the PCS union which represents them, earns £111,112. The average teacher takes home £32,630 annually but NUT head NUT Christine Blower takes a salary of £124,483.

    Derek Simpson of the Unite union lives in an £800,000 grace-and-favour house with his second wife while taking a salary of £120,328 from his members."

    I have no doubt that the GMB has similar pay deals with its senior staff.

    Unlike these rabblerousing, hypocritical bullies, at least Mark Elms has actually contributed positively to society. If he has done a good job, he deserves a good wage: I fully support performance related pay, and the education system in general needs to be geared more towards rewarding excellence in pupils and teachers, and less towards bringing everyone down to the same substandard level. "All shall have prizes" means the whole nation loses.

  • Comment number 73.

    6. At 11:19am on 13 Jul 2010, Aeil wrote:
    £109k is far too much for a head teacher, there should be a common pay scale across all civil servants and there shouldn't be any of them on more than the PM.


    Why? Isn't the argument usually "you need to pay the best to get the best"? Or does that not apply to the public sector? Don't tell me that we "the tax payer" don't pay private secor wages - of course we do. The price of every product or service we purchase from the private sector covers their wage bill. If private sector workers (eg bankers, company directors etc) were not paid so much the price of their products and services could be reduced. This headteacher is running a business - that's what schools are these days. If you want th best so be it.

    Also - bear in mind the 220k mentioned includes much more than the guy's basic salary. Therefore to draw a fair comparission with the PM you must include every other source of income Cameron has (consultancies etc etc. Bet you overall he's getting a damn sight more than £200k! Plus he's got all the lucrative income from memoirs etc to look forward to when he stands down.

  • Comment number 74.

    It's utter nonsense to suggest that the people our hard-earned taxes go to support are in some way worthy of salaries as high as politicians or senior civil servants. These people direct the courses of the country's future. Teachers are only responsible for the education of our children, and I really don't think that's as important as the future of our country. Without clear-minded people like Osborne and Cameron at the helm, this country would be falling straight down the hellpit and into damnation. How anyone can compare that with the relatively trivial task of giving a generation of children some sort of learning and a start in life... well... it's beyond me. And beyond them.

    Pay the lazy, 15-weeks-paid-holiday-a-year clowns tuppence ha'penny. If they don't like it, suggest they do some work during the summer. If they still don't like it, perhaps they should find a job that pays better. Perhaps they should have become Premier League footballers.

  • Comment number 75.

    This is another non story made to incite jealously about how much Joe Bloggs next to you is getting paid.

    If the man is doing a good job then why not pay him the base salaray of circa £100k, being a head teacher comes with responsibilities and he's being paid accordingly.

    Finally - what does the fact that his basic salary is close the the PMs got to do with anything? The point missed out on this story is the PM may get a basic salary of not much more but he also claims expenses - or has everyone forgotten about this little earner!!!

    Stop the people bashing stories and lets get back to some real reporting.

  • Comment number 76.

    I agree - his salary is £82,714, end of story.

    What has been wrongly focused on is what has been legitimately earned on top of that - some of which is back pay dating back 2 years!

    This is a gentleman who has done an outstanding job and made a real difference in the lives of the pupils and staff at his school - not some tabloid tart who has made a quick buck from selling a kiss and tell story! Isn't it time we commended those who have made a real difference for the better?

  • Comment number 77.

    £109,000 seems a pretty poor salary for someone working in a gangland, drug infested, crime ridden Labour controlled hell hole.

  • Comment number 78.

    No public service worker should earn more than the prime minister. Any currently above this level should have their salaries cut accordingly.

  • Comment number 79.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 80.

    What about all the useless, lazy & incompetent GMB union members then? Marxist unions, like the GMB, are a disgrace.

  • Comment number 81.

    Should there be a salary cap on education?...If we cap here we should cap everywhere else too. the BBC suggests that 200,000 is to much for a job. I can think of a few BBC big wigs that make a little more than this. Can we judge the BBC with their own stick? I think we can...

    Lets apply the same salary cap to everyone and create a maximum wage so that everyone can only get paid the same because we believe its fair. We must include celebrities, footballers, royals and MP's salaries aswell. I think 30k per person should do it.

  • Comment number 82.

    No-one in the public sector should get paid more than the PM.

    The PM is the ultimate boss. The PM calls the biggest shots and so he should cary the can but also get the paid the most for doing so.

  • Comment number 83.

    As this is public money, it should be capped. Schools are not profit making and any overtime should be limited. I am a school caretaker and each week I do more hours than I am paid for including voluntary minibus driving for trips out etc. There is only so much money in the pot for each school and the larger the salary, the less money for the rest of the school. Perhaps all wages of public servants should be published.

  • Comment number 84.

    to all of you that cannot find fault with this mans "basic" salary of £82700 - that is if you believe that figure. HOW did he suddenly EARN all this extra money without raising warning flags!
    Put this in perspective this PUBLIC funded teacher earned about £3850.00 A WEEK!!! compare that to a pensioner state income of less than £150.00 a week,

  • Comment number 85.

    Mark Elms - remuneration package of £276,523 for 2009/10 including employers' pension - is not the only item of interest re Tidemill. Under plans submitted to Lewisham Council, Tidemill Primary School will relocate to a brand new building. The brand new building is integrated with the 'Deptford Lounge', which would also include a community café and a new library.
    No doubt the new school would be an outstanding place for learning and teaching from ages 3 to 11. Other facilities include a sports hall, dining hall, studio hall, ball court, music suite and food technology rooms, all of which would be available to the community outside of school hours. All classrooms in the school would also enjoy direct access to a landscaped play garden.
    Work was supposed to start in 2009 with a completion date in 2011. I don't know if this has taken place, or is taking place.
    Also, I don’t know whether to applaud the excellence in this teaching environment + community involvement, or cry at the lack thereof in other Council areas. But any person can see the situation is uneven. The question is:
    Do we pull Tidemill down to the level of most schools, or attempt to pull other schools up?

  • Comment number 86.

    Wait - I saw the words 'paid' and 'overtime' in that article. I don't know any teachers that are paid for the scores of hours of overtime that they do each week and throughout the holidays.

    If I was paid overtime for all the marking, lesson planning, content creation, course creation etc. that I have to do out of hours after my contact time with pupils and meetings and administration duties are finished, the overtime would be nearly triple my basic salary.

    Teaching is one of those professions where each one of the people that do the job have to put in hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime every month so that schools can carry on running. That is why so few people actually want to be a teacher, despite many having a poor opinion about them.

    If we are finally going to pay people what they are due, then I am cheering!

  • Comment number 87.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 88.

    My first impression on reading the headline was "a disgrace" "no teacher is worth that" etc. But on reading what this man has a achieved in such a short time, and in the area, the I now say well done, you deserve it. Compare his salary with incompetent bankers, senior civil servants and jobs for the boys quangos and there is a case for him being underpaid.

  • Comment number 89.

    Funny how in business the saying is 'If you pay peanuts you get monkeys' but when it come to those to contribute to the good of society if you pay a good wage they are being over paid....i'm surprised that no one has yet demanded that these public servants should only be paid £100 per year and only given Boxing Day off....They are just SERVANTS after all said and done....

  • Comment number 90.

    70. At 12:34pm on 13 Jul 2010, James T Kirk wrote:

    Claw back the unpaid alcohol duty from Scottish whiskey that Brown so smugly kept with no raise for 13 years.

    I've never heard of Scottish Whiskey

  • Comment number 91.

    If this chap earnt it, he deserved it, but it does concern me that there are teachers, some of whom I count among my friends, who have worked tirelessly for years and made a huge difference to the lives of the children they have taught who have not received similar acknowledgment for their work, often at difficult schools. I am talking South East London Comps here, no messing. My childrens teachers have been brilliant, I haven't heard that they're being paid beyond their worth.

    I think the unions have a point to an extent, about collective bargaining, and if they're not making that point, then they should be, but this is the reality of modern de-unionised work practices.

  • Comment number 92.

    Providing this guy did NOT manipulate his percieved performance at the expense of the school or pupils in areas not covered by his KPI's I see no reason to argue about his pay. What is probably open to question is did the governers realise that someone could make such staggering positive change to a school, bearing in mind that (presumeably) those same governers had allowed the school to get to such a state that such change was possible. Perhaps the selection criteria for Governers should be looked at to ensure Governors are mentally and commercialy aware enough to fill those challenging roles?, and not just promoted or appointed from pure achedemia...?

  • Comment number 93.

    He is grossly overpaid. Apparently the governors authorised it, but how on earth could the school budget support it? It's just a little school with around 350 pupils, I'm guessing 10 teachers. I'd pay him £40k max.

  • Comment number 94.

    My thoughts are what are the salaries of other headteachers to compare his to? The PM is in an entirely different field of work to headteaching so is no comparison.

    Next, can we test the market forces in play - is there any other governing body willing to pay so much, in which case yes, this head and others are worth their salary - it really is the going rate.

    And I presume that the competition to be headteacher is wide open to all applicants - market forces again.

  • Comment number 95.

    14. At 11:30am on 13 Jul 2010, Skarjo wrote:
    ///"Outstanding Teacher (Ofsted's words) claims back overtime and back pay on top of normal wage"

    Not much of a headline really, is it?

    He was an outstanding teacher in a difficult school being paid a fairly average salary for his role (80K is not that much for a manager of his seniority, public or private), but a bit of (completely deserved) overtime and back pay inflated a couple of payslips.

    If we're picking targets for salary cuts let's not start with outstanding managers of difficult schools and shy away from using 'OMG 200,000 IS A BIG NUMBER' as the foundation of our arguments.////

    I am sorry but even £80k is a really high salary for any Head Teacher or it should be! Lets get this in perspective...this salary is for 'managing a small community school providing BASIC PRIMARY level education to 335 children!

    These pay awards have all become quite ridiculous. The Maddest of Hatters is paying Alice to follow the Rabbit down the deepest of holes - Personally, I would find it difficult to justify any 'employee', public servant or otherwise claiming a 'worth' of over twice national average salary for performing any 'job' no matter how demanding the role or successful the employee! Think about it - even highly successful entrepreneurs and business folk taking massive personal risk, and creating employment, would find it difficult to justify personal remuneration of £270k pa.

    And it is totally unbelievable that the BBC can interview parents arguing that this teacher is worth the money because their little darling are not left out in the rain during break time??????? Are they having a joke? So if the Head decreed to leave their kids out in the rain then he would not be worth the money? Is this the 18th, 19th or 21st Century? Dumbed down education is achieving remarkable results - thick parents and thick kids taught by thick teachers with thick Heads receiving thick salaries! Fantastic.

    Our country is in a serious amount of trouble - the nation has been consumed by incompetence, moral bankruptcy and corruption - infested with parasites and leeches - these fake saints and saviours are robbing you all blind! Its insane

  • Comment number 96.

    In a word - Yes. It is ludicrous that a school head teacher - no matter how good he/she is - can earn more than the PM. Either the PM is seriously underpayed or these head teachers needs to take a pay cut.

    I'm not decrying the value or quality of the best head teachers, but there is no justification for paying them this much money.

    The head teacher in question earned more than the top dogs who run world class universities in London. Are you telling me that the challenges faced by this head teacher and the scale of the organisation he is running are greater than our top universtites? Of course not. Look at Kings University - over a 100 buildings, 0.4 million square meteres of properly, nearly 30,000 students and staff, 5 campuses...the scale and the challenges are huge.

    How big is the 'challenge' faced by this head teacher? Not even in the same universe no matter how difficult his job is at primary school level....

    I don't agree with the comment by one contributor who said '....only responsible for education...' - that belittles the significant role and importance that education plays in our society. But it needs to be put into context, and this mans role is completely out of context with the reward/remuneration he receives. At the end of the day it is his JOB to deliver high quality leadership, and he shouldn't be getting paid ridiculous wages for just doing his job.

  • Comment number 97.

    75. At 12:39pm on 13 Jul 2010, Tinytablet wrote:
    This is another non story made to incite jealously about how much Joe Bloggs next to you is getting paid.

    If the man is doing a good job then why not pay him the base salaray of circa £100k, being a head teacher comes with responsibilities and he's being paid accordingly.

    Finally - what does the fact that his basic salary is close the the PMs got to do with anything? The point missed out on this story is the PM may get a basic salary of not much more but he also claims expenses - or has everyone forgotten about this little earner!!!

    Expenses are supposed to cover ACTUAL out of pocket expenses incurred on the job, not to make money on the side.

    The fact is that for senior teachers and public servants the taxpayer cannot afford the runaway salaries and compensation that have been paid out across the public sector over the past decade on the pretext that they need to be paid a lot to attract and keep the best. Most headteachers, GPs etc can't have believed their luck to get such deals when they were already motivated to do a good job. Now, unfortunately, they have developed an inflated opinion of their worth. Most would fail badly in the private sector and could not hold such deals there as the private sector (generally) has competition to keep it in check.

  • Comment number 98.

    Interesting that Labour had introduced a system of bonuses of this magnitude!!!!!!!

    At the end of the day, if he has completed this city challenge program successfully then he should receive the bonus that is awarded with it. Thing is that I do not know what the criteria was that he had to reach or what the agreed targets were and this is where the system doesn't work. If someone is paid an amount like this then it needs to be justified.

    For me though, I think this is way too excessive. I can imagine a head teacher of a big secondary school with 1500 pupils getting paid a sum like £200,000 for turning it around but, come on.....a primary school?

    If this person is so good then he should be taken out of this school immediately and placed in a big failing secondary. If there are head teachers out there who are worth this much, they should be better utilised and then they will justify being paid so much.

  • Comment number 99.

    His actual salary was around £82,000 some £40,000 less than that of the average GP and there are around 40,000 of them.

    £82K sounds about right for an experienced head teacher £120,000 for an inexperienced GP clearly isn't

    Amazing that the media have latched on to this guy and I wonder how many of those pontificating about his pay actually earn significantly more.

  • Comment number 100.

    Clearly he should be teaching negotiating skills to graduates! However, I cannot see that he, or anyone at a senior level, should be able to claim overtime. At his salary he should consider himself to be a professional who will spend whatever time his job requires. I'm surprised his contract allows such claims.


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