Education Secretary: Schools With 'Overpaid' Headteachers Will Be Penalised

28 October 2019, 11:23

The Education Secretary told Nick Ferrari that a new Government policy means that schools will be 'marked down' if they pay their headteachers too much.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "What we're wanting to do is make sure that we don't have too many headteachers on salaries more than the Prime Minister, over £150,000. We're wanting to make sure that we've got the money that we're putting into education going straight through to the classroom and making sure it benefits teachers.

So, I don't think it's unreasonable to say that applications will be marked down slightly if they're not actually making sure that the money is going straight through to the classroom."

Nick Ferrari put it to him that it's not the fault of a pupil if a board of governors or local authority or a headteacher him or herself managed to negotiate themselves a big salary.

Education Secretary: Schools With 'Overpaid' Headteachers Will Be Penalised
Education Secretary: Schools With 'Overpaid' Headteachers Will Be Penalised. Picture: PA

Williamson responded: "We recognise the fact that it is not the children's fault and actually what we're trying to do is we're creating an incentive to make sure there's proper financial restraints.

We're not saying that they cannot get the funding but their applications will be marked down as a result if there is sort of excessive salaries within the school."

Nick Ferrari said: "So, my child attends a school where the ceilings fallen in or there's a hole and simply because the head is on £155,0000, he/ she won't get any of the cash for their school. That's simply unfair."

Williamson replied: "That isn't what we're actually going to be doing is, as I think you probably know, because what we're saying is if there's a salary of over £150,000 and we've set out what we call the 'higher pay challenge', in terms of all schools and saying how they have to justify such large salaries, if they're paying over that and they're not able to justify it, then their application gets sort of a slight reduction in terms of the chances of it passing.

"But I think that the public actually expect us to make sure that the money that we're spending on schools is actually being spent well and it's not all been spent in excessive salaries. I think it's sort of a sensible approach to have.

"And we're putting £400m into making sure that those important improvements are made, whether that's expansion of schools, whether it's better facilities, whether it's dealing with key areas of maintenance.

What we're doing is we're encouraging schools to come forward with their applications and this is on top of the extra revenue money we've put into all schools making sure that every school, every secondary school, is getting a minimum of £5000 per pupil from next year a d every primary school is getting a minimum of £3750 rising to £4000 the the following year."

Nick asked if they want headteachers pay to be cut and Williamson said they do because they "want proper restraint".

Nick joked that they own't get many votes from headteachers because voting for the Conservatives would be voting for a pay cut. He then asked: "Why don't you like success?"

Williamson responded: "We love success and what we always do is we've created a framework for people to be able to thrive and be able to reward success.

But I think there's a sense of actually how much money should be spent in terms of top headteachers salaries, and we're not saying that they don't have access to money, but we do have the ability to mark down the application by a number of points."