Schools are not businesses. At least not in the way we normally consider them. You cannot, for example, compare running a school to managing a supermarket.
But just because the product is different does not mean there are not similarities. Tesco’s business is selling groceries. The business of schools is producing well-rounded, educated children.
Each has a similar goal – success in what they do.
The question is how to achieve this? If we knew that magic ingredient every school, hospital, public body and private company in the land would be excellent.
Sadly, we know this is not the case.
And though we might not know exactly what the secret to success is, it is pretty clear that in most circumstances good leadership has something to do with it.
What makes good leadership is a separate debate. Often it is an indefinable quality that does not bear up to scrutiny, a bit like being a good comedian.
But its presence is easy enough to measure in terms of the results achieved.
Tesco, for example, reported record annual profits of £2.8 billion earlier this year with group sales ahead by more than 11 per cent.
As a result, the company’s chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, who is paid a basic salary of £1.3 million, gained an annual cash bonus of £1.2 million and another bonus, paid in shares, worth £1.7 million.
Of course, no one is saying that a headteacher should receive a similar salary. Despite the financial impossibility of it, people do not become teachers for the money.
They are motivated by other things, such as the reward of helping the next generation achieve its full potential.
But at the same time, teachers cannot be expected to live off the joy of teaching. They perform an important and vital job. And on a certain level it is just that – a job.
If we want them to do it properly, they should be paid properly. The Government has recognised this with significant increases in pay for teachers.
But what yet remains to be recognised fully is the inspirational – at times magical even – leadership given by the country’s best school heads.
If we are serious about education, they deserve more than a pat on the back. And rewarding them financially could be one way for the Government to show that when it comes to schools, it means business.