Private schools are the type of charity most likely to pay staff more than £60,000 a year, according to a major new analysis by academics at the Third Sector Research Centre.
They studied a representative sample of 9,700 charities and found that 50 per cent of 783 primary and secondary schools in the sample had some staff paid more than this figure.
The second most likely type of charity to pay one or more staff £60,000 or more was professional associations, of which 45 per cent of the 114 in the sample reached the threshold. Next came medical research (28 per cent of 204 charities) and nursing homes and hospices (30 per cent of 432).
The survey was conducted by checking the accounts of charities with incomes of more than £500,000 in the database of more than 10,000 charities that has been compiled by the TSRC with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which uses it for its annual UK Civil Society Almanac.
The 2005 Statement of Recommended Practice requires charities with incomes of more than £500,000 to declare in their accounts, in bands of £10,000, how many staff are paid more than £60,000.
Professor John Mohan of the University of Birmingham, who conducted the survey with Professor Steve McKay of the University of Lincoln, said the analysis had been brought forward partly because of recent controversy about the pay of chief executives in charities.
"We brought it up the agenda a bit because it was clearly an area of public concern on which we could throw some light," he said.
The study indicates that in charities in England and Wales there are likely to be about 11,600 staff who are paid more than £60,000 and that the great majority of them are paid less than £80,000.
The academics found a very small number of very highly paid staff in charities, but say in their report that these are "somewhat removed from the levels found in other charities".
They also studied the Office for National Statistics report on pay levels to conclude that the proportion of charity staff paid more than £60,000 is 3.1 per cent, compared within 4.5 per cent in the public sector and 6.2 per cent in the private sector.
"We concluded that the proportion of people paid high salaries in charities is considerably lower than in other sectors," said Mohan.
See the full details in this week's Third Sector magazine