There are hopes a new pay offer could put an end to an ongoing teaching pay dispute.

Scotland's largest teaching union is "very hopeful" that a new "significantly improved" deal will be tabled on Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Deputy First Minister has said he is "very optimistic" that the dispute will be resolved by the offer.

John Swinney said a pay deal covering 2022/23 had gone from 6% to 7% following talks with unions.

Formal pay negotiations with Cosla and the Scottish government were held this week.

EIS general secretary Andrew Bradley has confirmed the union is awaiting confirmation of a new offer from employers.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, the union leader said: "Certainly we got to a place over the course of this week's negotiations that got us into a better space than we had been prior to that.

"EIS negotiators, supported very strongly by the members who had been out on strike action this week made a very strong case for an improved offer to come forth and we are very hopeful that that is what ensues later on today."

Currently, further targeted strike action, singling out areas represented by key politicians, is planned for next week. 

Between March 7 and 9, teachers are planning to walk out in Glasgow Southside, Dunfermline, Perthshire North, the part of Clydebank and Milngavie constituency that lies within the East Dunbartonshire Council area and Mid Galloway & Wigtown West. 

The areas were selected as they are represented by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister John Swinney, Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, Scottish Green education spokesman Ross Greer and Katie Hagmann, the resources spokeswoman for local authority body Cosla.

READ MORE: Full list: When will each council be hit by rolling strikes over March and April?

This will be followed by 20 days of rolling strikes with three industrial action dates across each local authority.

However, it will be for the EIS's salary committee to decide whether the latest offer is "credible" enough.

Ms Bradley added: "We are hopeful, first of all, that an offer will come across and secondly we are hopeful that it will be on terms that are considered a significant enough improvement and credible enough that it can then be put to our members for their consideration."

Asked if the EIS would consider calling off next week's strikes ahead of time "as a sign of goodwill", the general secretary emphasised that a suitable offer needs to be tabled first.

"We have to have an offer in order for that to be possible," she said.

"We have been very clear with the Scottish Government and Cosla around that. We have been very clear about the timescales which our democratic processes require to operate.

"We would have been more than happy to have met yesterday should there had been an offer come forth yesterday. As I understand it Cosla leaders could have met yesterday to discuss this, but certainly, we've put things in place to allow others to undertake their democratic processes and we are absolutely committed to ensuring ours occur later today should an offer come across."

While Mr Swinney expressed optimism for the deal, he added: 

 "There will be programmes and projects that will not be going ahead because I am having to take the money from those projects to put them into the teachers' pay deal.

"That has got to be done because I want to resolve the teachers' pay deal but it doesn't come without its consequences for other areas of government activity."