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Unions 2000 Friday, 2 June, 2000, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
100k plus perks for 'hyperheads'?
David Hart
David Hart says teachers can be motivated by salaries, not just vocation
By Gary Eason at the NAHT conference in Jersey

Head teachers deserve salaries of more than 100,000 for turning around groups of failing schools, a union leader says.

There should be performance bonuses on top of the basic salary and perks at the end of the contract for those who rise to the challenge, says David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers.

He says people might laugh at the money involved. "But some schools are no laughing matter," he said.

In his speech to the union's annual conference he said decent salaries had been dismissed, as a motivating force, for too long - it was enough that teaching was a vocation, people had said.

But salary levels sent a message - and why should not the head of a 100-pupil school earn 40,000? Or that of a 2,000-pupil school, 80,000?

Details unclear

Typical salary levels at present are about 35,000 for the head of a primary school and about 55,000 for the head of a secondary school.

"We will not rest until the vast majority of secondary heads are receiving salaries in the range of 60,000 to 80,000," Mr Hart told the conference.

David Hart
David Hart: "Some schools are no laughing matter"

Already some secondary schools are advertising 70,000 salaries to attract head teachers, and Mr Hart says he believes some heads are earning more than 80,000.

The proposal to have 100,000 heads - dubbed "hyperheads" by the media to distinguish them from the existing "superheads" brought in to turn around single schools - was made by the education secretary in a speech in February.

The intention was to have a small group of experienced head teachers who would oversee the running of secondary schools which were struggling.

He said more details would be announced shortly.

The proposal of salary packages well in excess of 100,000 appeared to alarm the Department for Education, which said on Friday that the whole idea was still under discussion.

"Salaries of 100,000 might have been mooted at the time but they are still under discussion," a spokesman said.

"The details are still being worked up and no steps have been taken yet to recruit to this group, nor has it been ironed out who would do the recruitment."


The whole idea of "parachuting in" head teachers to try to rescue failing schools took a knock when three of the first superheads resigned within a short time of each other in March.

But Mr Hart says the principle remains sound, albeit poorly thought through by the government.

He suggests borrowing other ideas from the private sector. There might be a performance bonus at the end of the contract, not necessarily cash - perhaps funding to do an MBA, for instance.

"I am not talking about fat cat private sector excesses," he said.

"I am saying that, if successful heads can be found to take up the challenge and win, the life chances of thousands of pupils will have been radically changed."

Mr Hart told journalists that anyone who did that would be taking a big risk with their career which deserved potentially big rewards.

"Why should you leave a post when you are doing very well and take on something that might actually leave you with a damaged reputation because you have failed?" he said.

Mr Hart also complained in his speech that the schools inspectorate, Ofsted, had created a new category of "under-achieving" schools without consultation.

He said there must be more self-evaluation and less "trial by inspection".

The BBC's Mike Baker
"Superheads will each oversee up to 5 struggling schools"
See also:

01 Mar 00 | UK Education
15 Mar 00 | UK Education
21 Mar 00 | UK Education
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