Single academy trusts have been told they have just two weeks to justify the salaries of executives earning more than £150,000 each year.
In the letter addressed to trustees, Eileen Milner, Chief Executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, requests further information on the school’s “rationale” for setting these levels of pay.
The request will only relate to salaries submitted in 2015/16 accounts.
The letter, dated 04 December 2017, reads: “You will be aware that there has been considerable scrutiny over taxpayer-funded executive salaries in recent months.
“Whilst I recognise the excellent work that is carried out in many trusts to deliver high quality education to children, trusts have a responsibility to ensure value for money and that salary payments are transparent, proportionate, reasonable and justifiable.
“The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has a responsibility to ensure that best practice is exemplified in the system to ensure this accountability.”
Academies must outline the role and responsibilities of the executive, as well as the level of challenge he or she has faced – for example, educationally, financially, or geographically.
Responses must be returned by 15 December 2017 – giving academies less than two weeks from the date they received the letter.
The Agency has also issued a second letter relating to executive pay for trusts at risk of experiencing financial difficulties.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Ex-Bath Spa University Vice-Chancellor Christina Slade was paid more than £800,000 in her final year, over half of which was “compensation for loss of office”.
The news sparked vicious debate about how tax-funded institutions should pay its top staff.