Toby Young got £55k payoff from New Schools Network

The New Schools Network handed its former director Toby Young a £55,000 payoff when he resigned earlier this year, according to the charity’s accounts.

Documents published today show Young was paid in the £150,000 to £160,000 band in the 2017-18 financial year, much more than the usual salary of £90,000 to £100,000 for the role.

The New Schools Network said today that the higher amount was down to a £55,000 lump sum handed to Young as part of his departure form the charity in March. Schools Week understands the sum was paid in lieu of salary for Young’s six-month notice period, and was paid-for with donations received by the NSN, not government funding.

Young’s departure followed criticism of his appointment in January to the board of the new universities regulator, the Office for Students, in the light of numerous comments he had made on social media, as well as his views on some education issues.

These included multiple tweets about the size of women’s breasts, and one in which he refers to a gay celebrity as “queer as a coot”. It then emerged that Young had deleted tens of thousands of his tweets. He subsequently resigned from the Office for Students board, claiming he wants to focus on his schools work.

The charity, which is partly funded by the government to support free schools, announced in March that Young, a journalist and free school founder, was leaving his role as a director.

Trustees said Young, who founded the West London Free School seven years ago, had decided “that the media attention his continuing presence at the helm of NSN is attracting has become a distraction from the vital work”.

An NSN spokesperson said: “The accounts show that the £150,000 to £160,000 band included £55,000 of restructuring costs,” a spokesperson said. “The role of director has always been paid in the region of £90,000 to £100,000, which is also the band that we anticipate for the next Director.”

Young was approached for comment.