The new pound;36,000-a-year excellent teacher grade will encourage schools to pay staff different salaries for the same role, and is a recipe for confusion, according to the largest teaching union.
There is considerable overlap between tasks teachers must do to be an excellent teacher and those required of staff who get paid management allowances, said the National Union of Teachers.
But other unions - who unlike the NUT are involved in social partnership with the Government - welcomed three new sets of draft standards. These outline respectively what teachers must do to be promoted to be excellent teachers, advanced skills teachers (who are expected to work in a number of schools), and to cross the threshold to the upper pay spine.
They said the proposals offered teachers who had reached the top of the upper pay scale a choice of career routes while giving schools the ability to create pay structures that fit their needs.
The excellent teacher scheme will be introduced in September with salaries of pound;35,874 across England and Wales, rising to almost pound;43,000 in inner London.
Teachers now at UPS3 will be eligible for the grade, which was promised after the Government shortened the upper pay scale.
Excellent teachers will be expected to take a leading role in developing school improvement policies and use research evidence to inform teaching of colleagues -both of these duties can also attract teaching and learning responsibility payments.
From September, teachers outside London at the top of the main pay scale could earn up to pound;44,000 through a combination of their pound;33,000 salary and a teaching and learning responsibility payment of between pound;2,300 and pound;11,275.
Steve Sinnott, NUT general secretary, warned that the Government has no way of monitoring whether the new pay structure will be fair to different groups of teachers including women and ethnic groups.
He said: "It will lead to massive practical differences from school to school. Unless they put a proper appeals process in place, headteachers will be open to accusations of acting unfairly, often through no fault of their own."
But the unions which helped draft the standard said they added to career options for senior teachers. John Dunford, Association of School and College Leaders' general secretary, said they could choose between becoming an excellent teacher, advanced skills teacher, joining the leadership team or taking on a teaching and learning responsibility.
He said: "If you are an excellent teacher you won't get a TLR. You can't have both, but in becoming one you will take on other responsibilities.
"What you have got is a national framework with local flexibility. That's what unions wanted and it is up to schools to use the flexibility to fit their own circumstances."
The Government has watered down requirements for teachers to show their teaching leads to higher standards for pupils before they can cross the threshold. In future, teachers will merely have to show that they "have teaching skills which lead to learners achieving well" compared to similar pupils elsewhere.
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD
The 11 post-threshold standards include the following:
* Contribute significantly to implementing workplace policies and practice and to promoting collective responsibility for their implementation
* Have an extensive knowledge and understanding of how to use and adapt a range of teaching, learning and behaviour management strategies, including how to personalise learning
* Teach engaging and motivating lessons informed by well-grounded expectations of learners and designed to raise levels of attainment
* Have teaching skills which lead to learners achieving well relative to their prior attainment
* Contribute to the professional development of colleagues through coaching and mentoring, demonstrating effective practice
'EXCELLENT TEACHER' GRADE
The standards for excellent teachers include:
* Be prepared to take a leading role in developing policies and practice and in promoting collective responsibility for their implementation * Research and evaluate innovative practices and draw on research and other evidence to inform their own practice and colleagues' * Know how to improve the effectiveness of assessment practice in the workplace, including how to analyse statistical information to evaluate the school's teaching and learning * Have extensive knowledge on matters concerning equality, inclusion and diversity in teaching * Have teaching skills which lead to excellent results and outcomes THE ADVANCED SKILLS TEACHER
The three AST standards:
* Be prepared to take on a strategic leadership role in developing policies and practice and in promoting collective responsibility for their implementation in their own and other schools
* Be part of, or work closely with leadership teams, taking a leadership role in developing, implementing and evaluating policies in their own and other workplaces that contribute to school improvement
* Possess the analytical, interpersonal and organisational skills necessary to work effectively with staff and leadership teams