SCOTLAND'S schools will shut on Thursday after teachers confirmed they would go ahead with planned industrial action. 

A last-minute pay offer, which would have meant a minimum increase of £1,926 or 5 per cent, was described as "a kick in the teeth," by the EIS.

Announcing the deal on Tuesday afternoon, the Scottish Government said it was "progressive" and that the hike would be equivalent to 6.85% for those on the lowest salaries.


A fully qualified teacher in Scotland, they added, would receive £35,650 – over £7,500 more than their counterpart in England.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: "This is a fair offer which recognises that the cost of living crisis is the priority, with higher increases for staff on lower salaries. 

"This is now the fourth offer that has been made. In the same time EIS have not changed their request for a 10% pay increase – even for those on the highest incomes.

"I have been clear that we have limited room for manoeuvre. The financial situation for the Scottish Government is challenging and additional money for teacher pay means reduced public services elsewhere.

"In these challenging times it is important we focus our attention on those who are most impacted by the cost of living crisis, as well as ensuring fairness to all public sector workers. I would urge leadership to postpone plans for industrial action and consider this new offer.”

Katie Hagmann, COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson said the offer was "fair, affordable and recognises that the cost-of-living crisis is the priority, with higher increases for staff on lower pay points."

She added: “We have worked extremely hard and closely with Scottish Government to ensure such a revised offer could be brought forward and made today. 

"I would call on our Trade Union colleagues to recognise that these are extremely challenging financial times we are operating in and we all need to make decisions with a full understanding of the consequences.

"Our offer ensures that we don’t place additional pressure on any other parts of our hardworking workforce and the essential services they deliver, and importantly it protects the best interests of children and young people.

"We hope our Trade Union partners will now postpone Thursday’s strikes.”

Following a special meeting of the EIS Salaries Committee, the union's General Secretary, Andrea Bradley said the new offer was "nothing less than an abject insult to Scotland’s hard-working teaching professionals."

She added: "Teachers overwhelmingly rejected a 5% offer more than three months ago and now, after months of prevarication and weeks of empty promises, COSLA and the Scottish Government come back with an offer that is worth that same 5% to the vast majority of teachers.

"This is not, as the Scottish Government claims, a progressive offer – it is a divisive offer, made on a differentiated basis, which is actually worse for many teachers in promoted posts.”

Ms Bradley added: “Contrary to the claims made by the Cabinet Secretary in Parliament and in Scottish Government spin today, this is not an improved, realistic, progressive or generous offer.

"Our members will see this offer for exactly what it is – a kick in the teeth from their employers and the Scottish Government.

"This afternoon’s Salaries Committee expressed outrage at this offer, and that outrage is sure to be replicated in staffrooms across Scotland today and tomorrow.

"Our programme of strike action, which will commence as scheduled on Thursday, will clearly show the strength of feeling of Scotland’s teachers who will be out in numbers and with strong voice on picket lines and at regional rallies.”

Earlier, the Tories had accused Ms Somerville of being "missing in action" during pay talks.

But the minister said it was for Colsa to take part in negotiations.

Ms Somerville told MSPs that the budget was under considerable pressure: “The UK Government made clear in the autumn statement that there is no additional support for public sector pay. Not one penny.

“So I’m afraid the 10 per cent pay claim that is coming from the teacher unions is unaffordable to the Scottish Government.

“Any extra money for pay deals will have to be found elsewhere within an already contained Scottish Government budget.”

“So fault with the place that we are in lies absolutely with the UK Government and the mess that they have driven to the UK economy and the levels of inflation,” she added.

Tory education spokesman Stephen Kerr hit out at the SNP minister for bringing Westminster in to the exchange .

“What an embarrassment,” he said. “What an embarrassment to Scotland to have a Cabinet Secretary in an area like education which is fully devolved blame the UK Government. It is beyond pathetic. 

“No wonder teachers are leaving the profession. Who can blame them? Teachers are striking over violence in classrooms.

"The lack of permanent contracts for teachers when they finish their probation. Their voices are ignored in SNP education reforms. 

“This Cabinet Secretary, by that answer alone, is letting down teachers. 

“Add to that the fact that they've been waiting seven months for a deal on pay, teachers are already at least £2000 out of pocket because of this delay. 

“What was stopping the Cabinet Secretary negotiating a deal in April? 

“It's absolutely negligent on her part, to allow these things to get to this sorry pass. 

“The Cabinet Secretary has been missing in action for months. Why? 

“Why does this SNP Scottish Government hold teachers in such contempt? The Cabinet Secretary must do better. Will she now apologise to the teaching profession for letting them down and ignoring them?“

Ms Somerville said it was “important to recognise what the Scottish Government has already done during this dispute.” 

She told MSPs: “For example, we have already committed £50m towards the teachers' offer that's currently on the table. 

“And if the current deal had been accepted by teachers, which I accept it was not, it would have allowed teachers to get a cumulative increase since 2018 of 21.8%. 

“It would have also ensured that the starting salary for a newly qualified teacher would have been over £35,000, significantly more than the £28,000 in England.” 

The SNP minister said the government had “already had to make hard choices.”

“The funding must come from elsewhere within the Scottish Government budget. And Mr Kerr can come to the chamber and bluster all he likes but what I did not hear in any of the challenges that he gave to me was a suggestion of how we could actually improve the offer, where that money would come from, and what he would want the savings to be made from. 

“Unfortunately, the position that we are in is those savings would have to be found elsewhere, that is the context and the reality of the situation.”

Ms Somerville later told the Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie that there would be “implications” for the rest of the education budget from any improved deal.