A fresh war of words has broken out between the Scottish Government and the main teaching trade union amid claims that probationer teachers will see their pay increase by over 30%.

The Government, which is in dispute with the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) over pay, confirmed that a range of factors would see the salaries of newly-qualified teachers jump to £29,936.

However, the EIS has accused the Government and local government umbrella body COSLA of “smoke and mirrors” in the way it has communicated its general offer to teachers.

Teachers could be balloted for strike action after pay talks with the Government and COSLA broke down recently.

The unions want 10% for all teachers, while Education Secretary John Swinney and local authority employers offered 3%, plus changes to the main grade scale.

The dispute escalated after Mr Swinney and COSLA wrote to teachers directly, a move that enraged the EIS.

According to the pay “restructuring” table sent to teachers, probationers currently on £22,866 will see their pay rise to £29,936 once they achieve full registration, which is a near 31% rise.

However, the figure is arrived at by adding three separate elements together: a 3% rise; a change to the grading structure; and pay “progression”, otherwise known as an increment.

The document states: “Improve starting salaries for newly qualified teachers to £29,936 - which is competitive with other professions.”

The rise would occur when a probationer gets a teaching job and moves from ‘point 0’ on the pay scale to ‘point 1’ next year. Currently ‘point one’ is worth £27,438.

An EIS spokesperson said: “It is misleading, in our view, to suggest that increased salary, as result of and moving from 0 to 1 is part of a pay offer – it is a consequence of becoming a full time qualified teacher."

He said of the letter more generally: “This Scottish Government/COSLA letter has added more smoke to the smoke and mirrors of the pay offer. It has also set a fire amongst teachers; many of our members have expressed their outrage at this blatant attempt by the employer and Government to influence their voting on this offer.”