The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has today called on the schools secretary Ed Balls to review teachers' pay after inflation was set at 3.8 per cent.
Christine Blower, the acting general secretary of the NUT, has written to the Schools Teachers Review Body (STRB) to call upon them to seek a remit from Mr Balls to review their pay.
The 15th STRB report stated that teachers can call for such a review if the average rate of headline inflation for the year preceding April this year fell below 1.75 per cent or exceeded 3.25 per cent.
With today's March retail price index being set at 3.8 per cent, the average rate of inflation for the period from April 2007 to March this year can therefore be calculated at 4.1 per cent.
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"Three years of below-inflation pay awards for teachers are having a serious and adverse effect on recruitment and retention to the profession.
"Recent data from the Graduate Teacher Training Registry [GTTR] shows a significant fall in the number of applicants to postgraduate teacher training courses compared to the same time last year," Ms Blower said.
She claimed that there had been a noticeable decline in the applications for a wide range of subjects as well as primary courses.
"In England there were 6.4 per cent fewer applicants for primary courses than at this time last year. In Wales, there was a decline of 9.4 per cent in primary applications," she said.
"There is a continuing decline in the real pay levels of teachers. Today's March figure only confirms the cuts in living standards that teachers are experiencing.
"Three years of below-inflation awards for teachers continues to have a damaging effect on teacher recruitment and retention, as the latest GTTR figures demonstrate. It is essential to halt this continued downward spiral."
NUT members are set to strike on April 24th for the first time in 26 years.