AMBITIOUS plans for the Scottish teaching profession to be educated to Masters level have hit a significant hitch over pay.

The Scottish Government wants greater numbers of teachers to pursue a new Scottish Masters of Education qualification.

Although not all teachers will be expected to undertake Masters level study, ministers believe an expansion will improve the quality of teaching.

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However, teaching unions have warned they expect any teacher attaining a Masters degree to command a much higher salary – a proposal not currently under consideration.

The stand-off comes after the Scottish Government announced £3 million in funding over the next three years to support higher quality learning for teachers.

Alasdair Allan, the Minister for Learning, said the money would be used to fund courses for training teachers at universities.

The announcement came as the National Partnership Group on teacher training set up by the Government announced a series of recommendations on future progress.

As The Herald reported yesterday, literacy and numeracy tests for trainee teachers are now being developed, with the move highlighting the small minority of teachers who struggle to demonstrate basic skills to pupils.

The Scottish Government recently scrapped an existing Masters-level training scheme that saw staff become Chartered Teachers, with the potential to earn up to £42,000 compared to a classroom teacher's salary of £34,000.

Mr Allan said the first group of teachers to benefit from the new funding would be those on the former Chartered Teacher programme.

He added: "International comparisons show the positive impact that a Masters level qualification can have on education."

But Larry Flanagan, leader of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said the aspiration for higher skills would only be effective with higher pay.

She said: "We want to see the highest standards of teaching, but this can only be achieved through appropriate investment in teachers, including pay at a level with other Masters qualified professionals."