£270k-a-year head quits academy trust role

A headteacher in Warwickshire who has been criticised over her £270,000 salary has left her role “with immediate effect”.

Lois Reed has quit as head of Ashlawn School in Rugby and as acting chief executive of the Transforming Lives Educational Trust, which also runs Ashlawn Teaching School and Henry Hinde Infant School.

Details of her salary, and a recent £50,000 pay rise, came to light in March, forcing the trust to review its pay policies.  The chain says Reed’s successor will be paid less, and will be “benchmarked against other schools of similar sizes”.

Stewart Jardine, the trust chair, said discussions with Reed “about the leadership at the school” had been ongoing “for a number of weeks”.

“Following a very successful period for Ashlawn, we have concluded that it is right that there is a fresh start for all of us,” he added.

“Mrs Reed has been an important part of developing Ashlawn and we wish her well for the future. Given that we are planning for the next academic year and Mrs Reed is focusing on other opportunities, we felt it was right that our new leadership team should start with immediate effect.”

The Rugby Advertiser reported that parents were notified of Reed’s departure on Monday, following weeks of unexplained absence from the school. Deputy headteacher Liz Cheney will take over as interim headteacher until a decision is made about a replacement for Reed.

Reed was paid between £270,001 and £280,000, according to accounts published by the trust. Her salary was almost £200,000 higher than any of her fellow employees, with the other nine highly paid members of staff earning between £50,001 and £80,000. Last year, Reed’s salary fell into the bracket of £210,000 to £220,000.

The government’s financial handbook for academies, published in July, warned academy trustees that they must “ensure their decision about levels of executive pay follow a robust evidence-based process”, while leaders’ pay must be “reflective of the individual’s role and responsibilities”.