Teachers could get 2% pay rise
Teachers could get a pay rise of up to 2% after a proposed salary package was signed off by the Government despite what Nick Clegg called a "fierce" battle with Chancellor George Osborne.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said the recommendations of the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) had been approved in full, including the right for schools to reward better-performing staff with the increase.
The STRB called for the upper end of the main pay range to be raised by 2%, while the minimum goes up 1%, allowing schools to reward their best teachers with a bigger rise
A range of salary deals for public sector workers such as the military, doctors, prisons and other public sector staff are expected to be backed by ministers tomorrow b ut the Liberal Democrats claimed "ridiculous and unfair" Tory opposition risked a decision on teachers being delayed until after the general election.
But shortly after Mr Clegg told Mail Online the package was "being resisted by George Osborne", the Department for Education issued a statement saying it would be given the green light along with others.
Ms Morgan said: " This country is lucky to have a truly exceptional teaching workforce who do a vital job of opening up young minds.
"That's why I'm delighted to approve a pay deal which gives heads the freedom to offer their best and most experienced teachers a 2% pay rise, something that is only possible because we trust heads and governors to decide how to reward their staff."
Downing Street had denied there was a row, insisting the recommendation of the STRB was "being dealt with in the normal way" by the responsible minister - Lib Dem Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander.
Mr Clegg however told Mail Online: "There's quite a fierce debate going on in Government right now about what we do for the recommendations for teachers.
"The recommendation is that for some teachers, it depends where they are on their pay band, they get a 2% increase.
"That's being resisted by George Osborne. I just think it's affordable, it wouldn't cost us the earth, it's recommended and we should get on and do it."
He said: "It's important that where we can be as generous as we can be, for people who are working in the public sector, we should do so."
At present the ceiling in England and Wales outside of London is £32,187 and the floor £22,023.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: "The fact that the Review Body has recommended breaking the Treasury's pay cap, albeit only for some teachers, demonstrates the Review Body recognises there is a real issue in terms of the adverse impact the coalition Government's public sector pay policy is having on teacher supply.
"Teachers had their pay cut by thousands of pounds over the last four and half years under this Coalition Government.
"Teachers' starting salaries are now 20% lower than other graduate professions and 44% lower for teachers who have had three years of service. They are a staggering 73% lower after five years.
"There is a teacher recruitment and retention crisis caused by the coalition's relentless attacks on teachers' pay, pensions and conditions of service.
"What makes the situation even worse is that even when the Review Body recommends a percentage award, schools are not obliged to pay it.
"Therefore, thousands of teachers face the prospect of having not even this meagre cost of living award from September due to the excessive pay discretion this coalition has given to individual schools.
"Teachers' anger and frustration will undoubtedly be reflected in the decisions they make when they vote on May 7."
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt MP said: "The truth about the Tories is they are committed to spending plans which will mean cuts of £70 billion if they win the election - so extreme that they threaten the NHS. Their plans will see spending on schools cut in real terms.
"Let's be very clear, this is not a commitment to new money for schools to fund a pay increase of 2%
"Labour has a better plan for education, with a commitment to protect the entire education budget."