Academy trust boards are “not being rigorous enough” in curbing excessive pay of senior leaders, the academies minister Theodore Agnew has said.

Lord Agnew has written to chairs of academy trust boards urging them to take their financial responsibilities seriously, and not to over-reward trust bosses.

In particular he said the salaries of non-teaching senior leaders should not rise at a faster rate than for classroom staff.

“I would not expect the pay of a CEO or other non-teaching staff to increase faster than the pay award for teachers.”

Agnew, who formerly chaired the Inspiration multi-academy trust, warned that Eileen Milner, chief executive at the Education Skills and Funding Agency, would soon be writing to multi-academy trusts if an employee was earning more than £150,000.

Such a letter would go out to most of the larger multi-academy trusts, such as Harris Federation, whose chief executive Dan Moynihan got a £20,000 pay rise to at least £440,000.

Milner has already written to single academy trusts on the same issue, and will be following up with larger chains “shortly”, according to Agnew’s letter.

He added he did not believe enough boards were being rigorous enough on the issue of high CEO pay.

CEO pay should also be reduced if the performance of schools in a trust “declined over several years,” said Agnew.

“I want to emphasise the priority that I attached to the responsibility you and your boards have to ensure that your executive teams manage their budgets effectively, and deliver the best value for money.”