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Teachers scoop fair-pay deal but unions still unhappy

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Teachers are set to receive a pay rise that takes them above the 2 per cent limit imposed by Gordon Brown for public sector workers.

Salaries will start at £25,000 for those working in inner London and £24,000 for those outside.

Ed Balls, children, schools and families secretary made the announcement yesterday, saying he accepts the three-year pay recommendations of the School Teacher’s Review Body.

In addition to the 2.45 per cent increase effective from September this year, there will be additional increases for some London teachers, and increases of 2.3 per cent per year from 2009 and 2010.

Balls said: “Teachers are the backbone of our education system. We know that the most important factor in education, alongside the input of parents, is the quality of teachers. I believe we have a world class workforce that is improving all the time.”

The pay deal, said Balls, is both “fair” and “affordable” for schools and in line with Gordon Brown’s public pay policy.

However, Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Britain’s largest teacher’s organisation said that teachers will be worse off: “This pay settlement of 2.45 per cent for 2008 is well below the rate of inflation of 4 per cent which was also announced today. This will reduce the standard of living for teachers and exacerbate the problems of recruitment and retention.”

Sinnott said that with increases in the cost of housing, fuel and food, the pay deal is in effect a pay cut.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) was more conciliatory, however, and ASCL general secretary Dr John Dunford welcomed the news: “There had been a good deal of anxiety among school leaders at the prospect of a lower award, which would have made recruitment and retention of teachers even more difficult, especially towards the end of the three-year period.”

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Annie Hayes

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