In an unusual move, six teaching unions – including the NUT (National Union of Teachers) – have submitted a plea to the School Teachers’ Review Body.

The STRB, which regulates pay for teachers throughout the nation, has received the submission as part of an appeal to increase teachers’ pay above the proposed annual level of 1%. The message also includes warnings that schools are suffering from a “recruitment and retention crisis”, and that increasing numbers of pupils are being taught by unqualified staff.

Unions claim that the profession is suffering a “national crisis”, with school budgets at “breaking point”, but the Department for Education accused the signatories of “scaremongering”.

In a statement, the DfE said that it is “determined to go further” and that its plans “will mean more great teachers in schools in every corner of this country”.

But while Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s letter to the STRB said that “there remains a strong case for continued pay restraint in the public sector”, it seems unlikely that the unions may see their pleas acted upon.