Yesterday was clearly a day for publishing data on public sector pay. Not only did we release our Town Hall Rich List – the ultimate survey of all those in local government receiving in excess of £100,000 – the Department for Education also released details of headteachers in publicly-funded schools earning over the same threshold.
Data published by the department reveals that 700 headteachers earn six-figure salaries. This includes 200 who earn upwards of £110,000. Of the 700, the data shows 300 working in academy schools and 400 in other state schools. Conversely 1,600 school leaders receive salaries of less than £40,00, the survey conducted last November found. Also revealed is that average pay in primary schools has risen slightly from £51,500 to £51,800 and in secondaries from £60,700 to £60,900. But pay for classroom teachers has fallen from £34,700 to £34,400 from November 2010 to November 2011.
Debate has begun surrounding the significance of these figures, however it is not for the TaxPayers’ Alliance to say how much teachers, or any public sector worker for that matter, should be paid. But we can be sure about one thing – that now the information is in the public domain, taxpayers, parents and other interested groups can have the discussion as to whether their teachers are worth it, or whether they are grossly overpaid.
When the wider public sector is having to make essential savings, it’s only fair for all who are paid for by taxpayers to exercise restraint and retain some moral credibility. This argument is supported by Professor John Howson, an expert on public-sector pay, who said: “In a time of austerity and public-sector cuts, the question has to be, just who is policing this situation? There is no way of controlling it.” As with pay in Town Halls, controlling it will only begin once all the information is in the open.