Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 18:17 UK

Secondary head picks up bonuses

By Alison Smith
BBC News education reporter, at the ATL conference

Sir Alan Davies
Sir Alan Davies says he is worth the salary

The head teacher of a London secondary school picked up £80,000 in bonuses last year, taking his annual salary to more than £160,000, it has emerged.

Sir Alan Davies, head of the Copland School in Wembley, received a £50,000 bonus the year before.

Former teacher at the school and full-time union representative Hank Roberts has complained to the Audit Commission that the bonuses were "unlawful".

Sir Alan said he believed he was worth the salary.

He said: "It is a difficult question. I believe I am worth it for all the extra responsibility I have taken.

"I have gone beyond the role of head teacher."

He said grades had improved "steadily" at the school and also pointed out that he had brought in a multi-million pound project for a new facility.

Mr Roberts maintained it was unlawful to pay a bonus to the head of a state school.

He said the bonus culture had "infected" the state school system.

Details of of Sir Alan's pay emerged during a debate at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers annual conference in Liverpool.

Extra responsibility

In a statement, the specialist science school's chair of governors, Dr Indravadan Patel, said he believed Sir Alan was "worth every penny" and said they were proud to have him as head teacher.

He said the head had taken responsibility for a local primary school in special measures, and that this had involved many hours of work over and above that of a normal head teacher.

Sir Alan and his leadership team had attracted £300,000 of sponsorship and £2m to finance a new school building, he added.

"The bonuses were - as all bonuses should be - paid in recognition of the excellent work done by Sir Alan, well above and beyond what would be expected from any normal head teacher, work which has turned Copland School into one of the most successful inner city schools in the country", the statement said.

Sir Alan Davies once received an 80,000 bonus

"All salaries and bonuses are awarded perfectly legitimately through our school governors pay review committee which meets every year in line with our school policy."

Schools Secretary Ed Balls said he "had never heard" of such a bonus being paid to a head teacher in a state school, but that strong leaders should be rewarded for extra responsibility.

"Linking pay to performance is something I support - if it's done genuinely and is about the performance of the school," said Mr Balls.

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