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Sir Michael Wilshaw Calls Out MAT Chief Execs For Excessive Pay

  • Sir Michael Wilshaw Calls Out MAT Chief Execs For Excessive Pay

Sir Michael Wilshaw has expressed concern at the results of Ofsted inspections within seven multi-academy trusts (MATs), and the levels of pay among trust chief executives.

In a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Wilshaw writes, “Although HMI carried out these focused inspections of academies within the MATs that gave us most concern, the findings are nevertheless worrying.

The published letters to seven MATs highlighted serious weaknesses that were contributing to poor progress and outcomes for too many pupils.”

According to Wilshaw, across all seven MATs inspectors found the following:

• Insufficient progress and attainment, at KS4 in particular
• Leaders failing to adequately improve attendance or behaviour
• Insufficient scrutiny of the impact of teaching on pupils’ progress
• A lack of strategic oversight of academies on the part of trusts
• Weak leadership at middle and senior levels, and little sense of urgency at having to address the problem
• Governors and trustees appearing to accept information from senior leaders without checking on its accuracy
• Confusion over governance structures and lack of clarity the roles and responsibilities of the central trust versus the governing boards of academies – compounded in some cases by trusts not publishing a scheme of delegation, which they are required to do.

The letter also sees Wilshaw focus particular fire on the issue of executive salaries and MAT spending. The passage in question reads as follows:

“Given these worrying findings about the performance of disadvantaged pupils and the lack of leadership capacity and strategic oversight by trustees, salary levels for the chief executives of some of these MATs do not appear to be commensurate with the level of performance of their trusts or constituent academies.

The average pay of the chief executives in these seven trusts is higher than the Prime Minister’s salary, with one chief executive’s salary reaching £225k. This poor use of public money is compounded by some trusts holding very large cash reserves that are not being spent on raising standards.

For example, at the end of August 2015, these seven trusts had total cash in the bank of £111 million. Furthermore, some of these trusts are spending money on expensive consultants or advisers to compensate for deficits in leadership. Put together, these seven trusts spent at least £8.5 million on education consultancy in 2014/15 alone.”

WIlshaw concludes the letter by highlighting the challenges faced by some trusts in monitoring dozens of academies across wide geographical areas in different parts of the country and a call for further action aimed at reducing the difference in standards currently demonstrated between the best and the worst academy trusts.

Sir Michael WIlshaw’s letter to the Education Secretary can be read in full here; the Ofsted inspection outcome letters sent to the seven MATs can be seen here

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