The big money is still to come
But they are still waiting for the final details of what they will have to do to get their hands on the money. They are also still wondering if the money will be there in two years' time after the pound;1 billion earmarked for pay awards by the Government runs out.
The School Teachers' Review Body has set out the new pay structure, putting flesh on the bones of the proposals first made in the Government's Green Paper Teachers: meeting the challenge of change.
The review body has proposed a simplified pay scale, abolishing half-points and the multitude of "responsibility" points. Instead they want to create an "upper pay-scale" to which experienced, excellent teachers can move when they cross the performance threshold.
They also propose up to four management points for performing clearly-defined duties.
So at the top of the new scale, with a full set of management points, heads of departments or similar could in time earn up to pound;37,110. With inner-London weighting and extra points for taking a hard-to-fill post, their salary could top pound;42,000 if they were prepared to work in the capital.
Senior teachers will join heads and deputies on a single leadership scale, with senior staff and deputies paid somewhere between the highest-earning teacher in the school and the head.
The Department for Education and Employment will consult on how teachers' pay changes as the system moves from the old salary scale to the new ones, but says that no one will be worse off. Half-points will be protected, as will the salaries of those with more than four "responsibility" points who do not end up on the leadership scale.
The proposals have failed to win much support from unions. The immediate 3.3 per cent rise for all teachers may be above inflation, but it is only two-thirds of last year's rise in average earnings. Few argued t would attract new recruits.
Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said teachers had no reason to celebrate. Once again they would be worse off than other professions, with a starting salary some pound;2,000 lower.
"It leaves existing teachers underpaid, under-valued and overwhelmed by their ever-increasing workload," he said.
Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: "Every government is the same: they all want a Rolls-Royce education service powered by a Mini Metro engine."
The Professional Association of Teachers described the award as "an insult". Only the Association of Teachers and Lecturers struck a positive note, calling it "realistic and sensible".
Heads should benefit from the new structure - the review body stressed their importance in making the system work, urging wider use of merit pay. It has lifted the cap on their salaries by almost pound;2,000.
That was welcomed by the Secondary Heads Association. But its general secretary, John Dunford, said many heads were worried about the effect on budgets. The Government has set aside pound;1bn to meet threshold payments in 200001 and 200102, but made no assurances beyond that date.
School standards minister Estelle Morris said: "Teachers are not going to have their pound;2,000 taken away ... the teachers' salary bill will have to be part of the planning in 2002."
She said the pay rise was a fair, affordable settlement with many teachers set to benefit even further from the new pay structure. "This package is a huge achievement," she said. "Union leaders are doing their members an injustice if they pretend otherwise."
3.3 per cent pay rise across the board
Pay rise of pound;2,001 in September for teachers at top of scale who cross performance threshold
Up to four further points for excellence taking pay to pound;30,018
Responsibility points replaced by up to four management points up to maximum pound;7,092
Senior teachers join heads and deputies on new leadership spine up to pound;75,972
Fast-track recruits reach threshold in three years, not seven
Senior teachers and fast trackers forfeit limit on working hours