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£1 million paid to headteacher in four years

As the Outwood Academies group of schools is set to encompass two local secondaries: Harrogate High School and Ripon College, I found this piece in today's Guardian interesting.

"An investigation is under way after it emerged that more than £1m of public funds have been spent on the services of a single headteacher over the course of four years. Michael Wilkins earns £182,000 a year as principal of Outwood Grange academy in Wakefield, but since April 2007 he has also been paid £497,400 for helping to improve other schools in the area. Most of this sum has been paid into a private consultancy company, which is run by Wilkins, two school governors and two other members of staff.
In addition, according to the Yorkshire Post, £148,637 has gone into another private company owned by Wilkins – Leadership Challenge Ltd.

Wakefield council is investigating whether the correct procedures were followed when making the payments. Bernadette Livesey, the council's director of legal and democratic services, says the authority is doing "all we should to pursue this issue".

She says: "As a responsible council, we strongly believe that the use of public money should be open and transparent. The council has been in regular contact with representatives of the Outwood Grange academy and it is hoped that the matter will be finalised in the near future. At this stage of the process, the council is not in a position to make further comment on the status of the review."

A spokesman for Wilkins has told the Yorkshire Post that the head generated more than £1m for his school and made year-on-year efficiency savings that covered his salary several times over.
Michael Gove, the education secretary, last month named Wilkins as one of the country's "great school leaders" at a national conference of directors of children's and adult services.
The payments Wilkins is reported to have received come as schools across the country receive their budgets for the financial year starting on 1 April. Cuts to local authority budgets and reductions to central government education grants will mean many schools are worse off.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), which represents 15,000 heads and deputies, has said some heads are preparing to make up to a fifth of their staff redundant in anticipation of huge cuts.
Fiona Millar, a campaigner for state education and former government adviser, says helping challenging schools is important work, but questions whether "individual heads should be able to profit to such an extent, expecially if salaries for their day jobs are set at such a high level".

She adds: "Should the profits from this work, all paid for by the taxpayer, be ploughed back into one school, or a group of schools, or should it come back to the Department for Education to be shared among all schools?
"It seems quite wrong that, at a time when many schools are agonising over how to shave thousands of pounds off their budgets without making staff redundant, other schools, their heads, or executives at academy chains, should be benefiting to such an extent."
Sally Kincaid, divisional secretary of the Wakefield branch of the National Union of Teachers, says these payments show there is "no local, democratic accountability within academies".


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