Parents have expressed their outrage after it was revealed the head of a south London primary schools federation earned £370,000 last year.

Sir Craig Tunstall, who is head of the Gipsy Hill Federation, was paid £330,000 plus £44,000 in pension contributions by Lambeth council last year, newly released accounts reveal.

The executive head of eight council-run schools is Lambeth council’s best-paid employee and he is also believed to be the best-paid primary head in the UK, the Evening Standard reports.

Commenting on the figure, Lambeth Council say that Sir Craig’s pay is set by the federation’s board of governors, despite it coming out of the council’s accounts.

Sir Craig is also responsible for a Lambeth children’s centre, another one in Southwark and three schools in the same area. His salary is 80 per cent higher than the council’s chief executive and double the amount of Theresa May’s £143,400 wage.

Numerous parents and residents took to social media to express their disgust.

Nick Toms posted on Facebook:

 “It is outrageous that the head of a small number of primary schools should be paid £330K a year. He’s converting them to academies too so he will be untouchable.”

Seanie O’Shea added:

“What a shameful waste. This money should be used for improving education not management bank accounts.”

However, defended Sir Craig’s high salary.

James Lightfoot said:

 “(He) oversees nine schools, well over 100 staff, nearly 2,000 plus pupils with track record of good to outstanding Ofsted reports and of retrieving some schools from special measures to outstanding in a few years. “Ultimately you get what you pay for?  There are many others in our society who earn far more, but contribute far less.”

The head teacher was awarded a knighthood two and a half years ago for his services to education and is one of a group of national leaders of education trained to share their expertise with other schools.

Sir Craig’s career has not been all plain-sailing. He left Croydon’s Oval Primary School after just two days on the job in 2011 after harsh punishments for offences such as wearing the wrong coat and failing to stand in line prompted opposition from parents and council bosses.

A spokeswoman for the Gipsy Hill Federation has defended the salary publicly, saying the majority of schools run by Sir Craig had been rated outstanding.