The BBC reports that teachers in England and Wales will get pay rises above the 2% inflation target set by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The three-year pay deal will mean increases of 2.45% in September 2008 and 2.3% in each of the following two years, says Schools Secretary Ed Balls. The award was higher than the 2% anticipated for public sector pay.
Teachers' unions were divided in their reactions - with both warnings of ballots for industrial action and support for the pay deal. Head teachers' leader, John Dunford, welcomed the higher than expected rise. "There had been a good deal of anxiety among school leaders at the prospect of a lower award," said Dr Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.
Chris Keates, leader of the Nasuwt teachers' union, said: "Compared with other public sector workers, clearly we have fared well." But she said the union would hold an opinion poll "to gauge whether teachers feel that the level of this award is going to be sufficient".
The National Union of Teachers remained unimpressed by the increase - warning that its executive would meet next week to plan a "robust response. Teachers have to pay increases in the cost of housing, fuel and food. This settlement is in effect a pay cut," said general secretary Steve Sinnott.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers acknowledged that the award was higher than for other public-sector staff, but cautioned that it still failed to match inflation.
The salary increases, recommended by the independent pay body, the School Teachers' Review Body, have been accepted by Mr Balls. Describing teachers as the "backbone of our education system", Mr Balls said that the pay award was "fair and affordable for schools. Today's pay award will enable teachers and schools to plan ahead with a greater degree of security and certainty and at the same time will help deliver stability for the taxpayer and the wider economy," said Mr Balls.