The price of leadership

Would you be in favour of a principal earning more than the Prime Minister if every child was engaged in learning; parents were satisfied and learning outcomes improving?

Knowing what we know about the role of school leadership – what price do we place on it?

The Guardian recently reported the annual salary of Tidemill Primary Principal, Mark Elms’ – a whopping £240,000.   In reality, 40% of his annual salary came from a school grant under Labour’s City Challenge initiative in which he spent two years working with under-achieving schools.

Tidemill’s story reads like many schools in parts of Sydney or Melbourne – high proportion of non-English speaking students and low attainment in literacy and numeracy.

In eight years, Elms’ has created a turnaround school by listening to parents, including them in the learning journey and ensuring diverse learning opportunities for students – many of which take place out of school hours.

It raises an interesting point – a remuneration model built on base level qualification, time served and job title may make sense for a mass production model of schooling. Yet we now understand that quality schooling is not going to be achieved by a mass production approach.

Just as we are seeing dramatic changes in the nature of schooling why should we not see such understandings and changes reflected in how we pay our teachers and school leaders?

Whether school leaders deserve more than the PM depends on what price you put on quality learning and teaching.

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