I've just seen the new pay deal offered by sixth form colleges, and it wasn't what I expected. The pattern for the last few years is to match school teachers, who have been offered a 2.3% rise in September. The deal for college teachers is 1% in September rising to 2.3% in April.
This will be tricky for the unions in the current climate. With many in the private sector having pay cuts or job cuts and the government briefing the press that the public sector has done well in recent years, few teachers will have the stomach for a fight. But teacher pay has risen below inflation for a while now and has fallen 10% compared with other service sector employees in the last five years.
College funding is rising this year faster than student numbers, and there is money in the coffers to pay the award in full, so expect the unions to make plenty of noise over the next few weeks. Last year's increase was delayed until the new year due to wrangles between the staff side and the employers — looks like we'll be waiting a long time for a resolution again.