PRIMARY headteachers have urged all school staff to back a new pay deal rather than pursue strike action.

The call comes after members of the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) overwhelmingly backed the latest offer from the Scottish Government and councils.

The union had recommended acceptance of the deal - which gives the profession nine per cent over three years as well as extra cash to restructure pay scales worth at least 12 per cent.

Following a ballot, 90 per cent of AHDS members voted to accept with just 10 per cent opposed.

Greg Dempster, the union’s general secretary, said he hoped members of other unions including the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) would also back the deal.

He said: “This is a very strong signal from members that they believe the offer should be accepted.

“We recognise the result of our ballot represents only a small proportion of the overall teaching workforce, but we hope EIS and SSTA members will vote in similar way so that the pay award for 2018/20 can be settled.

“Then we can start to progress the other elements contained in the offer such as the review of guidance to tackle excessive workload.”

John Swinney, the Education Secretary, welcomed the vote. He said: “The ultimate decision rests with the teachers still being balloted. We believe the offer on the table is worthy of support and hope more teachers will vote to accept it.”

The current offer means a three per cent pay increase in 2018/19 for all grades up to a cap of £80,000 with a flat rate increase of £1,600 for salaries above that level.

There will also be a three per cent in 2019/20 for all posts with a similar arrangement for the following year.

In recognition of concern over problems in the recruitment and retention of teachers Cosla has also agreed to back a restructuring of wider pay scales and took at pay for promoted teachers.

However, teaching unions have campaigned for an immediate 10 per cent rise for all staff arguing salaries have fallen behind over the past decade.

The EIS is currently balloting members with a recommendation to reject. If members agree the union would hold a ballot on strike action.