Headteachers have demanded higher wages to encourage classroom teachers to pursue promotion.
The National Association of Head Teachers has told the School Teachers’ Review Body that the current gap between the salaries paid head and deputy headteachers and the pay received by classroom teachers means there is too little incentive for them to seek promotion.
It says many primary teachers at the top of the pay scale will get annual salaries of around £34,900 from September because of increases and management allowances.
Typical primary schools offer salaries of around £33,000 to £36,000 for assistant heads and £34,000 to £37,000 for deputies.
The union argues that the narrow gap, created by better improvements in pay for classroom teachers, has exacerbated shortages of senior staff.
David Hart, NAHT general secretary, said: “Pay differentials between school leaders and the rest of the teaching profession have been shot to pieces.
“Their salaries no longer reflect the very significant responsibilities they carry. The vast majority of classroom teachers have benefited from performance-related salary movements. Our members are in grave danger of falling behind.”