Ashlawn School defends head's six-figure salary

Ashlawn School.
Ashlawn School.

The headteacher of Ashlawn School received a salary of between £270,001 and £280,000 in 2017.

The figures, obtained from statements available on the school’s website, mean headteacher Lois Reed received a pay rise of at least £50,000 from 2016 to 2017.

The partially-selective school is part of the Transforming Lives Education Trust – which also includes Ashlawn Teaching School and the Henry Hinde Infant school – which joined the trust in September 2017.

Mrs Reed is acting chief executive officer and accounting officer for the whole trust on top of her role as Ashlawn’s headteacher.

Mrs Reed’s salary places her among the highest earning heads in the country – but a spokesperson for the school argued her level of pay is justified by her performance.

David Gadsby, chair of the Ashlawn School Governing Body and a founding member of Transforming Lives Educational Trust, told the Advertiser: “Academy trusts and governing bodies are responsible for setting executive pay levels to enable them to recruit and reward exceptional leaders.

“We strongly believe that the level of pay reflects Lois Reed’s performance and ability to offer every pupil at Ashlawn School an excellent education, as demonstrated by the school’s outstanding performance.

“Since Mrs Reed’s appointment as headteacher, Ashlawn School has gone from strength to strength.

“In 2013 the school was graded by Ofsted as outstanding in all areas.

“In 2014 the school was assigned as a teaching school with Mrs Reed appointed as an accredited pupil premium assessor.

“She is also an Ofsted inspector and a consultant with the Department for Education.

“We are one of the largest schools nationally (in the top 10 per cent for pupil numbers) and in 2017 we were in the top five per cent state schools in the country according to Tatler. Our Progress 8 is 0.45 which is well above average.

“Additionally, Mrs Reed is managing the development of the new free school in Rugby, Ashlawn 2, and helps Warwickshire County Council to support under-performing schools in the county.”

Guidance published by the Education and Skills Funding Agency states: “The board of trustees must ensure that their decisions about levels of executive pay follow a robust evidence-based process and are reflective of the individual’s role and responsibilities.”

Although Ashlawn School individually is in the top 10 per cent nationally for pupil numbers, the overall trust is relatively small – with the other school in the trust, the

Henry Hinde infant school, providing for 179 pupils from 2016-17.

Mrs Reed’s 2016 salary was declared as being in the £210,000 to £220,000 range.

Mrs Reed’s 2016 salary, compared with the 2016 salaries of other academy bosses, was the same as the pay of the boss of the Gorse Academies Trust – which currently comprises of 10 academies in the Yorkshire area.

The news comes after increasing controversy surrounding the pay of academy trust bosses.

The Department for Education lists the maximum salary range for a headteacher of a single non-academy school outside London as being £109,366.