Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker—Academy heads make vast fortunes for failing children

Issue No. 2680


Workers fighting to stop academisation (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Head teachers and academy trust leaders in the state sector are collecting “fat cat” pay packages with some pocketing nearly half a million pounds a year.

Perks can include company BMWs and all-expenses hotel stays.

In 112 academy trusts—more than a third of those examined by the Sunday Times newspaper—128 staff were paid more than £150,000, and 39 staff in 34 trusts were paid more than £200,000.

Six of the top-paying trusts operated just one school.

The rankings are topped by Sir Dan Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, a chain of 43 schools.

His remuneration last year, including a £50,000 pension payment, came to between £490,000 and £500,000.

That’s equivalent to about 20 new teachers on a starting salary of £23,720.

Second in the rankings is Julian Drinkall, of the Academies Enterprise Trust, on a package of £290,000. The trust has been singled out repeatedly as underperforming in some of its 60 or so schools.Third is Sir Kevin Satchwell, who earned £270,000 in 2017-18 and runs one academy, Thomas Telford School.

Jon Whitcombe, chief executive of Swale Academies Trust in Kent, which has five secondary schools, had a smaller pay package, £204,000, but senior leaders at the trust had company BMWs.

Steve and Paula Kenning, the husband-and-wife co-founders of Aspirations Academies Trust, which has 15 schools in the south of England, jointly earn £400,000.

Among the highest-paid head teachers is Dayo Olukoshi, executive principal of Brampton Manor Trust in east London, which operates two schools, a junior and a high.

He was paid at least £255,000 in 2018.

The high salaries come against a background of cuts in schools, with parents being asked to pay for basics including textbooks.

Last year the Education and Skills Funding Agency wrote to 87 trusts to demand they justify high salaries.

However, the analysis shows the number of staff paid more than £100,000 actually increased by 82 between 2017 and 2018, to 655.

  • Tough time for the world’s rich. The combined wealth of billionaires fell by £300 billion to £6.6 trillion last year. It was only the third fall in ten years. The number of billionaires decreased in every continent except the Americas, where there were 749 billionaires, up 4.8 percent. The number of European billionaires shrank by 4.9 percent to 598 and their total wealth by 6.8 percent. Their wealth shrank by £136 billion to £1.9 trillion.
  • Troublemaker regular Keith Vaz, the long suffering Labour MP, is stepping down from parliament to spend more time with his washing machine job. He first resigned as a minister for health reasons in 2001. The ex-Tory MP Patrick Mercer once disgracefully called him “a crook of the first order”.

Watchdog slams anti-Corbyn charity

The Institute for Statecraft’s Integrity Initiative—a registered Scottish charity based in a dilapidated mill in Fife—launched a series of social media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn.

It was funded by the Foreign Office.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) last week released a damning review that found the Initiative did not provide public benefit.

It ruled its trustees had failed to provide effective oversight of its Twitter account, resulting in severe damage to its reputation, and that the charity had not met its purpose of advancing education.

OSCR was also scathing of high salaries paid to charity trustees, along with the organisation’s sometimes “non-existent” record keeping.

The Institute’s co-founder is Christopher Donnelly, an honorary colonel in military intelligence. He once headed the British Army’s Soviet Studies Research Centre at Sandhurst.

Romford asssault case cop faces trial

A police officer has denied assaulting a teenager with his baton while carrying out a stop and search.

Detective Constable Kevin Rowley appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with assaulting Tyrell Vassell by beating him.

The court heard Rowley had stopped Tyrell in Heath Park Road in Romford, east London, on 22 April, and had hit him with his baton when he refused to comply with the search.

Video footage posted on social media appeared to show Rowley repeatedly striking a black male in handcuffs with his police baton while the male shouts, “I am a child...this is illegal. You can’t do this.”

Police said the incident had occurred following the arrest of a 17 year old male on suspicion of possession of class B drugs.

Rowley, of Southend in Essex, was released on bail for trial in January.

David Duckenfield’s ‘grave failure’

David Duckenfield accepts that his “professional failings” during the Hillsborough disaster led to the deaths of 96 Liverpool football fans, a court has heard.

Duckenfield was South Yorkshire Police match commander on the day of the disaster in April 1989. Some 96 fans were crushed in pens 3 and 4 at the Hillsborough football ground. Duckenfield denies 95 counts of gross misconduct manslaughter. He can’t be tried over the 96th death. His retrial in Preston last week heard some of the evidence that Duckenfield gave to inquests into the deaths in 2015. Duckenfield accepted that he made a number of “grave failures”.

These included not delaying kick-off and not closing the tunnel that led to pens 3 and 4 before ordering a gate to be opened. Duckenfield accepted that on the day of the disaster he had “ultimate responsibility”.

He also accepted that failing to close the tunnel was the “direct cause of the deaths of 96 persons in the Hillsborough tragedy”.

Jurors also heard from relatives of some of the victims and others who attended the match.

The trial continues.

Crossrail delayed again

London’s new east-west railway is to be delayed for another year and cost a further £650 million.

Crossrail boss Mark Wild, said services would now begin “as soon as practically possible in 2021”. He said the cost would hit £18.25 billion—compared to the £15.9 billion budget set in 2007.

The new total will be £650 million more than the revised estimate last December, when the line was originally meant to have opened.

In April bosses were saying it could run from October 2020.

The Things They Say

‘There are some people who don’t shop with us because of who my husband is’

Samantha Cameron says politics hasn’t helped her luxury fashion brand

‘It’s a matter of deep regret’

Boris Johnson apologises to Tory members who elected him leader for failing on his “do-or-die” promise

‘Just whack it into the microwave at, er, gas mark 4’

Johnson insists his Brexit deal is oven ready

‘I’ll wet my whistle’

Johnson who has given up alcohol until Brexit happens

‘The Brexit Party need to swallow their pride, do their patriotic duty and stop’

Former Labour MP Ian Austin in his new weekly column in the Sun newspaper

‘Trump got his wish. This Trump alliance is Thatcherism on steroids’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after the Brexit Party announced it won’t stand against Tory MPs

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