Around 700 school leaders are earning six-figure salaries, official figures have shown.
Data published by the Department for Education reveals that 200 heads working in publicly funded schools are earning upwards of £110,000 and 500 others had salaries of between £100,000 and £109,999. It means they are earning double that of the average school leader in a state school, which currently stands at £55,500.
The statistics, which give a snapshot from November 2011, reveal differences in pay between school leaders and teachers, and between academies and local authority-run (maintained) schools.
They show that 300 academy leaders were earning in excess of £100,000, compared with 400 heads working in other state schools but the average salary for a school leader in an academy is higher, standing at £61,500, with the average for heads in schools under council control is £54,600.
At the other end of the scale, 1,600 school leaders were taking home salaries of less than £40,000 last November, of which most were working in maintained nursery and primary schools, and primary leaders are likely to be paid less as their schools are smaller.
The figures also show that average pay for heads working in maintained schools has risen slightly, to £51,800 from £51,500 in primaries and to £60,900 from £60,700 in secondaries but pay for classroom teachers in these schools has fallen to £34,400, from £34,700 the previous year.
A DfE spokesman said: "We have given academies freedoms on pay and conditions because we want them to be able to attract and retain the best staff, and to allow them to be innovative in creating extra incentives if they wish."
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "For the first time in generations, classroom teachers' average pay actually fell between 2010 and 2011. A two-year pay freeze, long-term cuts to teacher pensions and an increase in pension contributions has led to this parlous state.
"One-third more teachers are choosing to retire early on reduced pensions than four years ago. Add to that an unacceptable workload, continual inspection and criticism from government at every turn, recruitment into the teaching profession will become increasingly difficult."
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "The figures on average pay cover a huge variety of schools. Leading a 60-pupil primary school with 10 staff is a much different job than running a 2,000-pupil secondary school with 200 staff and a budget of £8 million."