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18-month wait for Londoners

Teachers in outer London are to get a bigger pay rise than those working elsewhere but it will be 18 months before the increase appears on wage slips.

Their colleagues teaching on the fringes of the capital will have to wait until January to hear if they will get a pay hike or not.

Inner London teachers saw a big increase in their pay this year, with the introduction of their own salary scale ranging from pound;21,522 for a newly-qualified teacher to nearly pound;40,000 at the top of the upper pay scale.

The School Teachers' Review Body is proposing similar scales to replace the current outer London allowance of pound;2,247 and fringe allowance of pound;870.

And in response to continuing concerns about recruitment and retention problems in the capital, it has recommended that outer London teachers should benefit from a bigger-than-average rise.

Like other teachers, they will get 2.5 per cent in April 2004 and 2005 - but a bigger top-up of between 1.4 and 2.9 per cent from September 2005, compared to around 0.75 per cent nationally.

It means an NQT starting work in an outer London borough in September 2005 will earn just over pound;22,000 - pound;1,650 more than now. In 2005, they will be earning pound;2,000 more than colleagues in the fringe and pound;2,841 more than teachers elsewhere in England and Wales.

Teachers moving across the performance threshold to the upper pay scale in September 2005 will earn pound;32,979, a rise of 6.7 per cent over 18 months.

The review body had recommended the implementation of the outer London pay increase from April 2005, but Charles Clarke, Education Secretary, wants it deferred to September.

Dave Harvey, a National Union of Teachers executive member for outer London, said: "I expect we will ballot for industrial action. It's an appropriate response to such a pathetic insult."

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