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Teachers likely to get pay rise of 2.9 per cent

TEACHERS will get a pay rise of just 2.9 per cent this year, or pound;10 a week for a newly-qualified entrant, the Government is expected to announce today.

The School Teachers' Review Body has recommended an increase in line with inflation as it accepts ministers' view that cutting workload is now the priority in England and Wales. But it is understood that new review body chairman Bill Cockburn has proposed more radical action in inner London to address the exodus of young staff.

A new pay spine is proposed for the capital with a starting salary of pound;21,522, an extra pound;4,000 at the threshold and with a ceiling at pound;39,093. Allowances for teachers in and around outer London will rise by 10 per cent.

This week the think-tank IPPR called for a package of perks to persuade teachers to stay in London, including sabbaticals, cheaper housing and deals on travel.

Outside London, the increases amount to pound;500 a year for an NQT, pound;800 for a teacher who has just crossed the performance threshold, pound;1,000 for the head of a small primary school, and up to pound;2,400 for the head of a large secondary. Teachers will get an extra pound;60 for crossing the threshold. Salaries throughout the profession will rise by an average of pound;16.25 a week.

Teachers will see their pay rise in April, but at the same time also face an average weekly National Insurance increase of almost pound;5.

Ministers are expected to accept the STRB's recommendations today.

As The TES predicted last week, the review body has rejected government recommendations to put forward a three-year deal which would have set teachers' pay until 2006.

Instead, it is deferring a number of controversial longer-term issues - including the expansion of performance pay and the introduction of locally-agreed pay - to next year, when there could be a multi-year deal.

The STRB's recommendations for London may be enough to persuade the National Union of Teachers to call off threatened strikes in the capital.

But the overall rise will be greeted with fury by the unions, especially the NUT. Latest City forecasts predict that average earnings will rise by 4.2 per cent during 2003.

Schools minister David Miliband told a conference last week: "Teachers are human - and pay, in our culture, is the most visible and acceptable sign of recognition for most people."

Some local authorities are also reporting that the Government has not provided sufficient cash to allow all eligible experienced teachers to progress to top rates of pay this year.

The STRB is understood to be unconvinced that ministers have successfully tackled teacher shortages. New government figures have revealed that one in six teachers aged 25 to 29 left the profession in 2001.

The review body is expected to say that it is disappointed ministers rejected its earlier advice to cut workload by capping teachers' hours. It had wanted a limit of 45 hours a week by 2006.

The pay recommendation will support Chancellor Gordon Brown's drive to ensure that big increases in public sector funding are not simply spent raising salaries.

However, nurses are getting a better deal. A package announced in November gives them a minimum of 10 per cent over three years, including 3.25 per cent in the first year.

There was some good news for the Government on the number of men training to be primary teachers. This is up a third on last year (see page 11). But separate figures indicate that women are paid pound;250 less on average than male colleagues when they start.

The General Teaching Councils for England and Wales could find that they have to be self-financing as the review body is unlikely to continue to cover GTC fees in future pay rounds.

Leader, 22

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