An Academy head was paid almost three times the salary of the Prime Minister last year after receiving a bumper pay rise, accounts show.
Daniel Moynihan was paid between £395,000 and £400,000 to head up the Harris Federation, which received millions in government funding to run 37 academies.
It is thought the astonishing pay deal makes him the highest-paid academy head in the country, and comes as many schools complain of budget squeezes.
Annual accounts reveal Sir Daniel, a head teacher who was knighted in 2012, received a 5 per cent pay rise of £20,000 in 2014-15 compared with the previous year.
His salary has risen by 83 per cent since 2009 and would now pay the annual wages of 14 newly qualified teachers in inner London.
Yesterday, critics said the package would be difficult to justify given the shortage of money in the education system.
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: ‘It is becoming increasingly difficult for some academies to justify paying their chief executives and heads such high salaries.
‘The more money that goes to chief executives and heads, the less there is to spend on pupils.
‘There should be transparency and accountability so that it is clear what salaries are being paid and what they are being paid for doing.’
Dia Chakravarty, political director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, added: ‘People don’t begrudge just rewards for good results but far too often taxpayer-funded salaries are handed out irrespective of performance, sometimes even rewarding failure.
‘Parents will want to keep a very close eye on the Academy’s operations to make sure this enormous salary really is good value for money.’