The vice-chancellor of Bath University is facing pressure to leave immediately following a controversy over high pay.

Dame Glynis Breakwell made £471,000 in the year up to April 2017, and had received thousands of pounds in benefits in kind, when she announced her retirement last November. She planned to step down from her role at the end of November 2018 and take a six month sabbatical. This would allow her to continue to collect her full salary until February 2019.

After a successful vote of no confidence – the second Dame Glynis has faced in recent months – the university’s court has urged Dame Glynis to leave immediately. It further said that the university’s council had acted beyond its power in granting Dame Glynis the six month sabbatical. The court’s role is only advisory and the council may reject its suggestions.

“Bath University’s Court has urged Dame Glynis to leave immediately, rather than in Feb 2019”

Dame Glynis made headlines when she was revealed to be the UK’s highest paid vice-chancellor. Her salary of £468,000 a year was supplemented by an interest-free loan of £31,000 (which has since been written off) for a car, an allowance for a housekeeper for her £1.6 million Georgian townhouse, and thousands of pounds claimed in expenses. In the past academic year, Dame Glynis had also received a pay increase worth more than the annual salary of some of Bath University’s employees.

The lengthy row over vice-chancellors’ pay prompted former universities minister Jo Johnson to set out plans requiring universities to publish details of staff earning more than £100,000 and justify salaries over £150,000 to the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS has also attracted criticism lately over the appointment of journalist and free schools advocate Toby Young to its board. Young resigned following a backlash over misogynistic, ableist, and classist remarks made on Twitter and in his columns.

Imperial College London has one of the highest numbers of highly-remunerated employees, with 130 employees above £150,000 per annum.

Professor Alice Gast, the President of the College, was paid £430,000 in 201516, making her the second-highest paid head of a Russell Group university. A College spokesperson Felix spoke to last September said: “Imperial is a world top-ten university, offering the very best in education, science, and innovation. Our success depends on attracting world-class talent, and our remuneration reflects that.”