Education unions are calling on the government to give all teachers an immediate, fully-funded 5 per cent pay rise after seven years of real-terms cuts.
In a letter to education secretary Justine Greening, the unions set out their "grave concerns" about the adverse impact that teachers’ pay is having on teacher supply.
The Association of School and College Leaders, the NAHT headteachers' union, the NEU teaching union, UCAC and Voice said that teachers' pay levels have fallen behind that of other graduate professions.
The School Teachers Review Body (STRB) has already said there was a "risk" that schools would not be able to recruit and retain "high-quality" teachers because starting salaries for teaching lag behind other graduate occupations.
In the letter to Ms Greening, the unions said: "After seven years of real-terms cuts in the value of pay due to the government’s public sector pay policy, we believe that a significant pay increase is now required for all teachers and school leaders.
"The situation is now so critical that it requires firm and decisive action. In order to support and secure recruitment and retention, teachers’ pay levels must be restored at least to the levels that existed before the start of pay restraint in 2010.
"We believe that teachers must be given an immediate pay rise of 5 per cent in 2018 as a step towards this."
It added: "It is absolutely essential that all pay rises, including any increases in on-costs, are fully met by additional government funding given the reality that 88 per cent of schools in England and all maintained schools in Wales currently face further real terms cuts over the life of this parliament.
"We ask you to put this position forward as a matter of priority in discussions within government in order to ensure that it forms the basis of your remit and evidence to the STRB, and your response to the STRB’s recommendations, and is supported by additional funding in the chancellor’s budget statement this autumn."