Pay set to be linked to results
The move is bound to impact on Scotland, as ministers prepare their education White Paper with similar aims - the three Rs of recruitment, retention and reward.
A Green Paper for England presented to the Commons this week by David Blunkett, the Education and Employment Secretary, proposes a new pay spine which will allow classroom teachers to cross a performance bar and earn up to Pounds 35,000 a year instead of the current Pounds 23,000 (Pounds 21,954 in Scotland).
In return, teachers will have to undergo appraisal and pay will be linked to performance. The most successful heads could earn up to Pounds 70,000 a year, and they will have a contractual duty to implement a performance management and pay system.
The Government is also proposing a pot of bonus money to be shared among staff in schools identified by a school performance award scheme.
A new group of fast-track teachers - 1,000 a year - will be selected. They will work an extra four to six weeks on leadership training and industry placements. They will be deployed to particular schools but may also be moved around and could be heads by their mid-30s.
Reaction, likely to be mirrored in Scotland, is that the plans are divisive. Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, went so far as to suggest that performance bonuses could "corrupt".
David Hart, secretary of National Association of Head Teachers, said that the only way to recruit and retain staff was by paying higher salaries to the majority of teachers "who are putting in a good performance week in, week out".