teacherTeaching unions are spitting feathers over the revelation that 800 headteachers – many of them in academies – are paid at least £100,000 a year, with 25 per cent of them on more than £110,000. Last year the figure was 700.

Figures from the school workforce census also showed that heads in secondary school academies earned on average marginally more than those in schools run by the local authority – £61,900 compared to £60,900 – and in primary schools the difference was £53,900 compared to £51,900.

The Department for Education said: “It’s essential we have the best people in place to lead our schools if we are to raise standards. That’s why decisions on pay are down to schools so that they can recruit and retain the highest calibre of school leaders.”

At the same time, teachers in secondary school academies were paid £35,200 (against £36,100 in state run schools) and in primary schools £31,100 (£32, 200). However, the figures do not show where these schools are based.

The general secretary of the National Union of Teachers Christine Blower said it was “quite obvious” that despite what the Education Secretary Michael Gove claimed about his plans for deregulating pay, it was “clearly not about paying a few teachers more but about paying the majority of teachers less”.

Commenting on the figures, Labour’s shadow schools minister Kevin Brennan said: “Under David Cameron and Michael Gove, there are 6,000 fewer teachers in our schools today than at the general election. There are also 3,000 fewer qualified teachers.

“With pupil numbers increasing and fewer teachers, this government is undermining classroom standards. They have undermined professionals and allowed unqualified teachers into classrooms. Parents don’t want bigger class sizes and children taught by teachers who aren’t qualified.”