Number of headteachers paid six-figure salary rises to 1,300

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Rising numbers of headteachers are taking home six-figure salaries, according to official statistics.

Around 1,300 heads were handed salaries worth at least £100,000 in 2016, Department for Education figures show.

The data, which gives details of England's state school workforce as of November last year, also reveals the number of qualified teachers entering the classroom has dropped for the second year running.

Overall, the latest government statistics reveal that 700 headteachers - including executive heads (such as those responsible for more than one school) were earning between £100,000 and £109,999 at the end of 2016, while a further 600 were taking home pay packets worth over £110,000.

In comparison, the year before, there were 700 earning £100,000-£109,999, and 500 in the over £110,000 bracket.

A breakdown of the 2016 figures shows the majority of those earning six-figure wages were working in the secondary sector, rather than primary - 900 compared to 400.

The average headteacher's salary - taking into account all state schools - has risen slightly to £68,300, from £67,300 the year before.

Classroom teachers from all types of state school have seen their wages rise by around £500 in a year, with average pay now standing at £35,100, compared to £34,600 in 2015.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: "It is deeply concerning to see the number of headteachers on six-figure salaries increasing while teachers' pay is being held back and is not keeping pace with inflation.

"These statistics should provide a wake-up call to government to end the practice of schools paying headteachers what they want whilst paying teachers what they can get away with.

"School leaders have highly responsible and important jobs and their salary should reflect this. It should be remembered that there are headteachers who in times of massive pressures on the system have not raised their salary at the expense of their staff."

The latest statistics also show the total number of entrants to teaching stood at 43,830 in 2016, down from 45,120 in 2015, and 45,290 in 2014. In 2013, the figure was 45,260.

At the same time, the data shows the total number of qualified teachers leaving the profession has fallen to 42,830, from 43,370 the year before.

The figures are likely to spark fresh concerns about teacher shortages.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, said: "These figures reveal the scale of the crisis the Tories have created for our schools."

She added: "This is a damning verdict on seven years of failure from Conservative governments, and without urgent action on teacher recruitment and retention, a generation of children will pay the price for that failure."