Talented newly-qualified teachers could get a pound;10,000 rise in just four years under the new pay system which comes into force in September.
The Government has confirmed that schools will continue to be encouraged to award extra pay points to the "very able", even after the introduction of new rules allowing most teachers to reach the performance threshold in five rather than seven years.
These teachers will be among the big winners of the pay award, which will give four-figure bonuses to some while others receive only the standard 3.5 per cent.
Ministers hope that giving young teachers the chance to move to higher salaries more quickly will ease teacher shortages by making it easier to recruit and retain ambitious young staff.
If awarded an extra point each year, teachers would be able to reach the performance threshold after just three years in the profession. They could then apply to cross the threshold and gain a pound;2,000 pay rise.
A newly-qualified teacher taking up their first post in September on a salary of pound;17,600 could be earning pound;27,900 plus allowances by 2006 - an increase of 58 per cent.
However, the number of teachers who benefit from this "double-point progression" could be limited.
In its report published last week, the School Teachers' Review Body expressed concern that there was not enough cash in the system for schools to make use of discretion on pay.
Recruitment expert John Howson of Education Data Surveys said that heads would be likely to award extra pay points to teachers in shortage subjects or in areas where they fear losing staff to other schools.
"It is likely to discriminate against teachers in history and PE because there are enough of them in most parts of the country," he said. Professor Howson said that the possibility of such a quick progression to the threshold cast doubt on the need for a fast-track scheme for high-flying young teachers.
Last week The TES revealed that just 906 people have applied for the fast-track programme this year - a figure that the Government admitted was "quite disappointing".
The review body's recommendation to shorten the pay scale from nine to six points was accepted by Education Secretary Estelle Morris, despite previous Government warnings that it would not be the best use of resources.
Although all teachers get a rise of at least 3.5 per cent, clear winners and losers emerge according to where they are on the current scale. Because of the shorter scale, thousands of teachers will effectively gain two pay points in September and catch up with more experienced colleagues. Some will benefit by as much as 17 per cent.
This week The TES Internet staffroom was inundated with complaints from teachers who will miss out on big increases and feel that their extra experience is being devalued. Many feel that they have repeatedly missed out on initiatives designed to boost recruitment and retention.
However, Barry Fawcett, head of salaries at the National Union of Teachers, said: "It's inevitable, under a change like this, that some benefit more than others. There's really no other way it could have been done, given that the number of points on the pay spine has to reduce from nine to six."
Higher up the scales, the picture is much more uniform, with a 3.5 per cent increase across the board. This includes the threshold payment itself, which rises from pound;2,075 to pound;2,148.
Heads, deputies and assistant heads may benefit more. Governors have been given more flexibility over school leaders' pay, allowing good heads to rise two points up the scale in a year, if their school can afford it.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
* NQTs without a second-class (or better) honours degree will start on the same higher salary as their peers.
* Teachers on point three of the current pay spine will move to the new point M3 in September. They will benefit by pound;2,655, or 14.8 per cent. Those on point four will also move to M3 and get a rise of pound;1,716 or only 9 per cent. Both will reach the threshold at the same time.
* Teachers currently at point seven will be assigned to the new top pre-threshold grade, M6. Their salary will rise from pound;22,035 to pound;25,746 - an increase of pound;3,711, or 16.8 per cent. Teachers at point eight will also move to M6 - an increase of 10.2 per cent. Both will be eligible to apply to cross the threshold.
* Teachers currently at the top of the lower pay scale who fail (or choose not) to cross the threshold will receive only a 3.5 per cent increase.Note: Figures include both the 3.5 per cent pay rise which will be paid from April and the increase that teachers gain by moving up the pay spine in September.