Ministers will recommend that the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) introduces a three or two-and-a-half-year pay deal.
The employers will agree, and are also likely to say that teachers' pay should rise by no more than inflation. But the National Union of Teachers and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers believe a multi-year deal should only come through negotiations with employers.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers is likely to oppose any multi-year deal that starts in 20045. Headteachers are expected to back the longer deal but say that it must be funded properly, and should not stretch beyond the remaining two years of the comprehensive spending review.
They will also recommend a single teachers' pay scale with a lower threshold and tighter criteria for progressing through the upper stages.
But the classroom teacher unions will fiercely oppose any move to limit performance pay.