Interim Headmaster gets caned

What’s a fair rate for an Interim Headmaster? £800 a day according to Task Management firm Serco. This is what they paid Mike Bee for a 2-month assignment at a school in Walsall. Sounds like a lot of money? The Daily Mail certainly thought so, the story dominated page 31……. or maybe it was just a slow news day.

As someone obsessed with interim rates (or just plain nosey) I did some digging to find out if £800 was in fact a fair rate given all available facts. Firstly, this was a short notice hire. Secondly, the school caters for students with behavioural problems so specialist experience was required. Thirdly, the assignment was for 2 months only (we all know that short-term engagements cost the client more than long-term engagements). Given these points and following a chat with a senior Interim Manager from the Education sector, I concluded that a fairer rate would have been £600-£700 a day. So Serco were over-paying, but not by much.

If you put the daily rate to one side, there may be a bigger issue here. What isn’t clear from the Daily Mail article is, who actually provided the Interim Manager to Serco Education and the School? Serco have another business named Serco Interim Management, part of Serco Consulting. So perhaps they supplied the Interim to Serco Education. If Serco did keep the recruitment of the headmaster ‘in house’, then questions can be raised such as, would they have found an interim headmaster with similar skills at a lower rate by looking outside of the Serco group? This question may of course be immaterial as the source of the interim headmaster has gone unreported.

The official spin from Serco is that £800 a day is in line with market rates and justified because Mike Bee was hired at short notice. This is in contrast to the opinion of Connex Education, a firm specialising in recruitment to the Education sector. One consultant from the company claimed that “We pay teachers £90 a day and to get £130 a day they would have to be on top of their game”.

But the figures quoted by Connex don’t add up, so let’s look at them in more detail (my obsession with interim rates continues unabated). Teachers teach for an average of 40 weeks a year, so Interim supply teachers on £90 a day will be earning £18,000 pa and teachers “at the top of their game” (as the Connex consultant puts it) will earn £26,000 pa. This is extremely low given that a newly qualified teacher will earn a minimum of £20,627 pa (25,000 in inner London). Either someone has got their sums wrong or Teaching is the only profession I know where Interim Managers are paid less than their Employed colleagues!!

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David Toan said…
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David Toan said…
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