Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Future of Tidemill update...

This meeting to discuss the implications of Tidemill Primary becoming an Academy School is now to be chaired by Joan Ruddock MP. 
Postscript: Joan Ruddock MP has withdrawn from chairing this meeting but has promised to chair a future meeting. The event will still go ahead and you are welcome to come along to listen to speakers and give your views. Watch this space for more information or go to academies.sayingno.org 

Meanwhile, in response to a Comment to Crosswhatfields on the reporting of NUT exec Martin Powell-Davies' letter (see here), Mr Powell-Davies has responded as follows on his own blog where the same comment was posted:

How much was Mark Elms paid?

I am grateful for a comment posted from a local resident who has signed the parent petition but is concerned that the facts about Mark Elms' pay need to be correct.

At the time his pay hit the headlines in July, I didn't make many public comments about the issue - precisely because the facts were unclear. However, now that the school is the one school in Lewisham to have rushed ahead with plans to become an Academy, it is inevitable that people are linking the two issues - and my comment has clearly been picked up this time!

The issues over the Head's pay are separate to those over the Academy - but these questions will be raised by parents and teachers. After all, in the conversations that I have had with governors in other London schools considering becoming an Academy, the only real argument that has been raised is that they might get more funding (at the expense of other schools and the Local Authority budget of course). So my original question remains, "does the school really need to grab even more money if it can afford to pay a primary head that much?"

Have I erred in quoting a figure of £1/4 million? I took the figure from the only definitive source that I have had access to - Lewisham Council's printed accounts - which state that Mark Elms' pay for 2009/10 was:

Total excluding Pension Contributions 231,400
Employer's Pension Contributions 45,123
Total including Pension Contributions 276,523

I know that other figures quoted in the press have give different details, such as:
• Basic pay - £82,714.37
• City Challenge - £102,955.00 over two years, £50,957 of which was back-dated pay for 2008/09
• Out-of-hours work - £10,000
• Arrears - £9,317

The quoted "out-of-hours" payment has angered local teachers who do lots of unpaid overtime every year too. The decision to pay the City Challenge money also needs explanation as, in my understanding, when a head is "providing services to another school", the money should go from one school bank account to the other school's bank account as a payment to the school for those services. If the figures are correct, I am unclear why the governing body decided to then make those payments to Mark Elms rather than use the funds to, for example, employ other staff and resources to cover for his absence.

I am happy to update the information to be as accurate as possible - if anyone can provide definitive answers!

Postscript: Martin Powell-Davies (Secretary, Lewisham NUT) has since written more on his blog about this subject. See his letter to the Tidemill governors here.

1 comment:

  1. "So as not to mix up the different issues of Pay and Academies too much"
    Thanks for your reply Martin. I signed the petition because I believe anyone affected by developments/changes in their community whether it being housing, education etc. should be properly consulted and given the opportunity to object if they so choose, but by bringing up the controversy surrounding Mark Elms salary did, as far as I'm concerned, exactly that.
    Regards Maria