Monday 14 October 2019

Principals at biggest Irish schools can earn €112k

EU report shows Irish heads are near the top of the class in Europe when it comes to earnings

Asti president Breda Lynch. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Asti president Breda Lynch. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Lynne Kelleher and Katherine Donnelly

Ireland's head teachers are among the best paid in Europe, with top-level secondary school leaders taking home six-figure salaries.

A new report reveals that school heads in the principality of Liechtenstein have the highest wage packets with up to €170,000 in annual earnings, just over 50pc more than their Irish counterparts, who can earn a top salary of €112,000.

Ireland ranks No 7 among nearly 40 countries when it comes to salaries for secondary school head teachers.

Irish school principals can earn twice as much as Spanish or Italian head teachers and nearly four times as much as their Greek counterparts.

The survey comes as the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (Asti) yesterday voted in favour of putting the proposals on pay for new entrants to the public service to a ballot, without a recommendation to members as to how they should vote.

The decision by the Asti central executive committee is in keeping with the position of the two other teacher unions, the TUI and the Into.

According to the new survey, Luxembourg head teachers are second on the list with a substantial salary of €153,000, while our nearest neighbours in the UK are in fourth place with state school heads earning a top wage of just over €123,000 - though head teachers of private schools can earn much more.

The annual salaries of school heads are part of a newly released European Commission report on teachers' pay.

School heads earn different salaries depending on the size and other characteristics of the school in more than half of the education systems.

In addition, Ireland ranks eighth in terms of starting salary for primary school teachers, while the nation ranks 12th on the table when it comes to the starting salary of a secondary school teacher.

In secondary education, the smallest percentage increase between the starting and top salary is found in Lithuania at 3pc, but Ireland is in stark contrast with a 89pc jump through the career of a teacher who can almost double their starting salary.

The report, 'Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2016/17', noted that pay and conditions in eastern Europe are substantially lower than in western Europe.

It also revealed that Ireland along with the UK, Spain, and Greece, are among the nine countries where real salaries of starting teachers are now lower than in 2009 and 2010.

But it noted that a policy reform or a change in the pay scales brought an increase of 4pc or more in Ireland and eight other member states from central and eastern Europe.

The report reveals that the starting salaries for teachers in Luxembourg and Switzerland are the highest in Europe for secondary school teachers.

The European Commission report revealed that Irish secondary school head teachers of the largest schools with 60 teachers or more have a minimum annual gross statutory salary of €90,414 and the maximum is €112,035.

When it comes to Irish secondary school heads of an average-sized school with 475 pupils, the minimum annual gross salary in 2016 and 2017 was €71,659 and the maximum was €93,280.

After yesterday's Asti decision relating to new entrant pay, association president Breda Lynch said while the proposed measures represented "some progress, it does not achieve equal pay for equal work".

The deal provides for pay rises of about €3,300 for 60,000 public servants recruited since 2011, although it hasn't settled all grievances.

While the proposals relate only to members recruited in the past seven years , a 'no' vote would carry risks, such as loss of increments, for all members, if it translated into industrial action.

This is because the deal was negotiated within the wider framework of the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA), which provides for serious financial penalties for unions which refuse to accept its terms and go on to take industrial action.

Asti remained outside the Lansdowne Road Agreement for an extended period, resulting in losses for its members.

Sunday Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News