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New teachers gain most from pay offer

Unions warn that a 'piecemeal' salary rise will not help to keep experienced staff in schools. Sarah Cassidy reports

Teachers are expected to receive a pay rise of at least 3.7 per cent from April, with the biggest rises going to those newest to the profession.

Experienced staff at the top of the pay scale will receive the basic 3.7 per cent rise, above the current inflation rate of 2.9 per cent.

But newly-qualified teachers are to get a pay rise of nearly 6 per cent, taking the starting salary for a good honours graduate to pound;17,000 from April.

The Government is expected to accept all the recommendations of the School Teachers' Review Body which is due to publish its report today. The rise will be paid to English and Welsh staff in full from April.

The rate of increase has been staggered to ensure there is no "bunching" of the pay scale. Staff will receive a rise of between 3.7 and 5.9 per cent depending on how long they have been in the profession.

A teacher halfway up the pay scale (point 5) is expected to receive a rise of around 4.8 per cent, lifting their salary from pound;18,906 to around pound;19,800. The maximum pay of an experienced teacher at the top of the scale will rise by 3.7 per cent to around pound;24,800.

The performance-related threshold payment will also increase by 3.7 per cent to pound;2,075 so a teacher who successfully crosses the threshold will be paid nearly pound;27,000. Post-threshold teachers will be able to earn up to pound;31,000.

Heads and advanced skills teachers are expected to get the basic 3.7 per cent rise, earning up to pound;78,800 and pound;44,600 respectively.

London allowances will rise 30 per cent, taking the inner-London allowance to some pound;3,000, up pound;700. This could take the pay of inner-London newly-qualified teaches to more than pound;20,000 for the first time, a rise of nearly 9 per cent. Outer-London allowances will rise by nearly pound;500 to just under pound;2,000 while the South-east "fringe area" allowance will go up by pound;175, to around pound;760.

Every head will be able to award up to pound;5,000 extra in salary to recruit in shortage subjects. They are also expected to be able to offer "golden handcuff" packages that would reward staff who stayed in a challenging school for an agreed period.

But teachers and heads' leaders have criticised "piecemeal" schemes and said they would be worthless without more funding to support them.

David Hart, of the National Association of Head Teachers, warned that many heads would find it difficult to fund recruitment bonuses. "Money from the Chancellor of the Exchequer is now going into schools but it is important that we do not raid this money to bolster up inadequate funding of the pay award."

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, has said such a package would fail to address teacher supply problems. "An increase in starting salary would be welcome but the problem is not just recruitment, it is also retention," he said. "The teaching profession will become less attractive as the years go by if, as teachers move up the scale, they fall further behind other professions."

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

"The settlement in Scotland (10 per cent plus benefits) shows that the Scottish Parliament is prepared to take the teacher crisis seriously. Piecemeal efforts to tackle the problem are doomed to failure."

The review body figures will be available at from today News, 6-7; Leader, 16; Briefing, 23

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