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Ministers told to welcome NUT back to the pay table

The Government has been told it must include Britain's biggest teaching union in all future joint pay talks.

The formal recommendation comes in next week's report from the School Teachers' Review Body, which is expected to outline a new system of allowances.

It is deeply embarrassing to ministers who ignored a request from the review body last year that the National Union of Teachers be involved in discussions.

The union, which refused to sign the workforce agreement, has been kept out of roundtable pay discussions since they began in November 2003, because it has not signed up to the concept of performance pay. Steve Sinnott, NUT general secretary, welcomed the news and said he hoped the Government took the comments to heart.

The TES understands the STRB report will reject some of the joint submission from the Department for Education and Skills, employers and the other major teaching unions acting as the Rewards and Incentives Group (RIG). It is thought the review body may have recommended changes to the proposed excellent teachers scheme which would give the best classroom teachers access to salaries of more than pound;33,000.

The STRB's recommendations represent a twin setback for the Government's social partnership in education. Ruth Kelly, Education Secretary, does not have to follow them but would have to explain her reasons for not doing so to Parliament.

Last year's STRB report asked that all parties be included in future joint discussions. It also pointed out that the matters being discussed were not directly related to performance management.

Its view was ignored on the grounds that it was not a formal recommendation. But the review body has now removed that excuse.

The DfES, National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers declined to comment before the report's publication.

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