Growing numbers of academy leaders, many of them responsible for only a handful of schools, now earn more than £200,000 a year.
In one case a headteacher at a single academy trust is now paid £220,000, while an associate head at the same trust is on £145,000.
A Schools Week investigation also revealed two chief executives running fewer than five schools broke the £200,000 barrier.
But the new findings, based on academy trust accounts from 2015-16, expose stark variations between academy boss pay.
A previous analysis into the pay of the country’s largest 13 academy trusts last year found just three bosses were paid above £200,000 (two of them oversee 50 schools each).
Six academy leaders responsible for more than 30 schools earned less than £200,000.
We don’t want to see a huge salary gap
Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said there was no “rough rule of thumb” on academy chief executive and head pay, and school numbers.
He said remuneration was driven by the often low job security, how challenging the trust’s schools were, and whether leaders would need to oversee expansion.
But he added: “We need to make sure trusts take a realistic view of rewards they are giving to senior leaders. I don’t think we could get a national pay range that represented all the different types of trusts.
“At the same time we don’t want to see a huge gap between the salary level of chief executives and other employees within the institution.”
Colin Hall, head at the Holland Park School Trust, which runs a single 1,400-pupil secondary based in west London, was paid £220,000 last year, up from £190,000 the previous year.
Holland Park became an academy in 2013. Before that, according to a London Evening Standard report into “superheads” in 2011, Hall reportedly earned £130,000.
David Chappell, associate head and accounting officer at the trust, is paid £155,000, up from £140,000 in the previous year.
Amanda Phillips CBE, chief executive of the Paradigm Trust (pictured right), which runs five schools in the east of England, saw her pay rise to £213,018, up from £195,384 in 2015. She was also one of former education secretary Michael Gove’s ‘magnificent seven’ academy leaders.
David Willis, chair of the Paradigm board, said Phillips supervised the principals of four schools and was full-time principal of the fifth, Murrayfield primary academy, which transferred to the trust this month.
He said Phillips was an “experienced leader renowned for her tireless work … often in the most challenging of circumstances”, and had secured a “glowing reputation” for the trust’s schools.
Andy Goulty, executive head and accounting officer for the Rodillian Trust, which sponsors three schools in West Yorkshire, is paid £210,000, up from £190,000. The trust did not respond to a request for comment.
However, John Tomasevic, who heads the Torch Academy Gateway Trust, saw his pay drop by at least £5,000 to between £260,000 to £265,000.
The trust, which runs three secondaries and one primary, refused to comment.
It is vital the best people lead schools
A Department for Education spokesperson said it was for governing bodies to determine the salaries of school leaders, adding it was “vital” the best people led schools.
“That’s why we have given all schools greater flexibility to set staff pay, reward exceptional leaders and attract strong leadership teams to work in the most challenging schools.”
Correction: Schools Week has removed the reference to Sir Nick Weller, chief executive of the Dixons Academies Trust, after clarification it was his total remuneration that equated to £200,000, which included employer pension and national insurance costs. His actual salary was £150,000.