All teachers in England will receive guaranteed pay rises of at least 2.3 per cent for the next two years, the Westminster Government has revealed. This will honour a three-year deal that kicked off with last year's rise of 2.45 per cent.
The increase for this year, which comes into effect from September, represents a significant real-terms rise given that the latest retail price index inflation figure is minus-1.1 per cent.
Teachers in England will receive the same rise from September 2010, regardless of how the economy performs or what happens to inflation over the next year. There will be no opportunity for either side to reopen negotiations.
In Scotland, a three-year pay deal was struck for 2008-2011, giving teachers yearly rises of 2.25 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent.
Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary in England, announced that he was following the 2.3 per cent recommendation made by the independent School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), which advises on pay in place of the national bargaining that continues in Scotland.
The decision south of the border followed calls by the Audit Commission, the Government's spending watchdog, for a public sector pay freeze as a "pain-free way of cutting public spending" at a time of spiralling national debt.
Chancellor Alistair Darling and Conservative leader David Cameron were both forced to clarify their positions this week, insisting that pay freezes for public sector employees were not on their agendas. Mr Cameron said it was right to leave pay negotiations to independent pay bodies.
Mr Balls came under fire last month for delaying his decision on teachers' pay.
Concerns had also been raised that the STRB would seek to reopen negotiations on next year's deal in light of the economic turmoil.
The Government's announcement is still open for a short consultation period but, with Mr Balls firmly backing the 2.3 per cent deal, it is highly unlikely there will be any change.
Starting salaries in inner-London will rise more than in other parts of the country, up by 4 per cent this September to Pounds 26,000. From September 2010, they will increase by a further 3.8 per cent to Pounds 27,000, with pay scales for more experienced teachers adjusted accordingly.
Salaries for staff on the Excellent Teacher Scheme will also soar, with minimum inner-London pay up by 24 per cent to Pounds 46,866.
Headteachers who take on the responsibility of permanently running federations of schools are in line for significant increases from September. Mr Balls last month rejected an STRB recommendation to limit their pay rises to 20 per cent above the top of the pay scale.
Teachers' unions had argued for an increase in excess of 2.3 per cent for teachers, which they said was necessary to ensure recruitment and retention of high-quality staff.
But the decision to honour the three-year deal - the first of its kind for teachers in England - was welcomed by union officials.
In Scotland, the starting salary will reach Pounds 21,438 next April, the final year of the agreement, with those at the top of the scale receiving Pounds 34,200. Chartered teachers will earn up to Pounds 41,925.