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Anger as university vice-chancellor quits with £808,000 payout for one year

Prof Christina Slade, right, pictured with author Fay Weldon, at Bath Spa University (Jim Ross/PA)

The vice-chancellor of Bath Spa University is walking away from her role with a final payout of more than £800,000.

Accounts for the university show Prof Christina Slade was paid £429,000 “for loss of office” on top of her £250,000 salary.

She received an additional £89,000 in pension contributions, plus a housing allowance of £20,000, and further £20,000 for “other benefits in kind”, bringing total payments up to £808,000 for the 2016/17 academic year.

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In a statement, the university – which has just 7,000 students – said: “Having taken legal advice the university paid Professor Slade a sum which reflected her contractual and statutory entitlements and was considered to represent value for money.”

Prof Slade served as vice-chancellor for five years, stepping down in August as pressure grew around her substantial salary.

The university said the vice-chancellor’s salary was decided by a pay committee, and that Prof Slade nor staff had any input into the setting of rates of pay.

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However, the committee was “mindful of the need to respond to concerns about excessive salaries and take into account the performance of the university”, it said

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, which represents university workers, said: “We are seeing what happens when decisions are taken in secret without proper checks and balances.

“This simply cannot be allowed to continue; we need an urgent overhaul of how senior pay and perks are determined, and how our universities are governed.”

Students at the University of Bath protest at the retirement terms of vice chancellor Prof Dame Glynis Breakwell (Claire Hayhurst/PA)

News of the payout came as it was confirmed an inquiry had been launched into the retirement terms of Prof Dame Glynis Breakwell, vice-chancellor of nearby Bath University.

She has announced her intention to quit following a row over her £468,000 salary – the highest in the country.

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Prof Breakwell will leave her post at the end of this academic year but take a sabbatical and will not formally retire until February 2019.

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has revealed it was sent a letter by a Labour councillor asking it to look into “governance issues” at the university.

The huge salaries of university staff has come into sharp focus in the light of tuition fees and spiralling student debt.