Speaking on Breakfast with Frost, Mr Blunkett said: "I would very much like teachers to have got it by this Christmas for obvious reasons. If we can't, we will do so as quickly as we can," he said.
The Department for Education and Employment now says it will do all it can to get the money to successful applicants by Easter. Many will not see the backdated pay rise until the summer term.
Assessors are ready and waiting to go into schools but the process is unlikely to restart in earnest until the spring term because of practical problems in arranging for them to visit schools, according to Jeremy Lucas of Cambridge Education Associates which is managing the external assessors.
CEA has received application packs from around half the schools which had intended to apply, he said. There may also be a backlog when the remaining packs arrive.
The introduction of an appeals procedure could also delay the process, Mr Lucas added.
He said: "If somebody can now appeal against an assessment then this will mean there are implications for both heads and assessors. We need to think about whether we have a rigorous recording procedure so that our assessors can demonstrate that they were fair every step of the way.
"There are many different models for an appeal - it might affect us, it might not. It is as if we arealmost at the end of the tunnel - but the light may not actually be on."
The review body has:
accepted ministers' original standards for judging what makes an effective teacher, including the contribution they make to pupil progress.
recommended that there should be an appeal process for teachers who have been denied a threshold payment. Mr Blunkett has agreed to take soundings on how this can be achieved with minimum fuss.
dismissed fears that colleagues will be expected to inform on each other. Line managers will be required to assist heads in the assessment of teachers over whom they have management responsibility.
TIMETABLE FOR THRESHOLD PAYMENTS
Until November 10, 2000
David Blunkett to consult on draft statutory orders based on review body recommendations.
Second half of November
Order laid before Parliament along with a special grant report which authorises David Blunkett to get the extra cash he needs to fund the pay rises.
Spring term, 2001
In England, heads complete their assessments of threshold candidates and external assessors visit schools to validate them.
March 16, 2001
In Wales, proposed deadline for applications made by teachers, after which heads make their assessments of threshold candidates and external assessors visit schools to validate the process.
Before Easter, 2001
Most teachers who are successful - says the DFEE - will receive the pay rise backdated to September 2000.