The 320,000 superhead: State-funded academy chief's salary soars by 31%… and dozens more are also paid six figures

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UPDATED:

01:58 GMT, 8 December 2012

Inflated salary: Sir Dan Moynihan, who runs the Harris Federation of academies, earned 317,999 last year

Inflated salary: Sir Dan Moynihan, who runs the Harris Federation of academies, earned 317,999 last year

Heads of state-funded academies are earning up to 320,000 a year as salaries soar.

Charities running the schools are
paying dozens of senior staff six-figure salaries, with six managers
earning at least 200,000.

They include Sir Dan Moynihan, who
runs the Harris Federation of academies. Annual accounts reveal he
earned 317,999 in 2010/11, up 31 per cent on the year before, plus
employers’ pension contribution on top.

Harris paid 140,000 or more to five
others, who are heads or managers, putting them on a par with David
Cameron’s salary of 142,500.

A
second chain, E-ACT, paid director-general Sir Bruce Liddington
280,816 in 2010/11 plus 18,303 for his pension and 16,707 in
expenses.

Many
academies, which receive hundreds of millions of pounds of public money,
have been credited with transforming results in difficult places.

But critics yesterday questioned ‘excessive’ pay amid concern that funds were being diverted from pupils.

Academy
accounts, published on the Department for Education’s website for the
first time, also reveal how more than 206,000 was paid to disgraced
superhead Richard Gilliland in 2010/11.

He
ran four Priory federation schools in Lincoln and Grantham but quit
after auditors uncovered extraordinary purchases, including sex aids
delivered to school offices. The academies scheme is booming, with half
of secondary schools having the status or converting.

They
are directly funded by the Government and independent of local
authority control, with growing numbers being part of chains run by
charitable trusts.

Academies are exempt from rules on the pay and conditions of senior staff. They typically pay heads 6,600 more than secondary schools under council control, public spending watchdogs have reported.

The Harris Federation, founded by Carpetright mogul Lord Harris, says on its website that its record is 'unmatched' among academy chains.

Sir Daniel Moynihan was knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace last month

Sir Daniel Moynihan was knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace last month

Almost all its schools which have been open at least a year were rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted.

Figures for 2010/11 cover nine academies but there are now 20.

Sir Dan was knighted by the Queen last month in recognition of the trust’s record.

The accounts also show the rapidly expanding Academies Enterprise Trust paid a senior employee in the bracket 240,000 to 249,999.

The Richard Rose Trust, with two academies in Cumbria, paid a manager up to 209,999. Basildon Academies, also with two schools, paid a senior employee between 220,001 and 230,000.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: 'Many people will think 300 grand for one manager is excessive at a time of restraint elsewhere.'

Fiona Mactaggart, a Labour MP and former teacher, suggested that some heads sought academy status to 'increase their own salaries'.

Brian Lightman, head of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: 'A large amount of public money is being invested. It needs to lead to very high outcomes.'

A Commons committee has questioned 'very high salaries paid to senior staff in academies'. Last week, MPs challenged senior officials on how well they ensured value for money in academies.

Harris and E-ACT declined to comment on individual salaries.

A DfE spokesman said: 'Everyone in receipt of public money has to think very carefully about the right rate of pay for staff.'