But no changes are planned for NHS, prison service and civil service pay, as the government rowed back from earlier proposals to vary pay by region.
The plans had been designed to ensure areas with high pay could spend more on staff to make the sector more attractive, while poorer areas would no longer have to pay a huge premium above other local salaries. Unions welcomed the change of heart.
Allowing head teachers to set pay levels based on performance is intended to attract and retain better teachers, and to raise the profile and standing of the profession.
The school teachers’ review body, whose advice education secretary Michael Gove is following, argues this will improve standards efficiently.
“These recommendations are designed to make it easier to meet the local needs of schools and reward and promote good teachers,” the body’s report read. “The freedom to develop pay policies which take account of a school’s specific circumstances should encourage school leaders to take ownership of pay as a tool for improving outcomes.”
But unions disagreed, arguing more teachers will leave the profession if they do not have automatic raises.
“Mandatory national pay scales are one of the few things that have kept the profession attractive. Removing incremental progression and linking pay ever closer to appraisal will anger teachers,” said Christine Blower from the National Union of Teachers.