Every one percent increase to teacher pay would cost the taxpayer £500,000, the Education Minister says.

Julie Edge says that the two pay increases offered to teachers in the last 18 months have been ‘significant’.

She told Manx Radio that the rises have been ‘over and above’ what others in the UK have had.

‘That’s to address the historic issues around recruitment which always come up,’ Ms Edge said.

‘We’ve not had a problem recruiting to our workforce.

‘We were fully staffed in September.

‘Teachers come and teachers go, we’ve seen that for a number of years.’

She added: ‘The department’s taking all of the views of all of our staff seriously and I feel that we have offered a fair, sustainable pay increase.

‘We’ve started at 8% and gone up to 11.9%, which I think is fair and sustainable for the future.’

However, NASUWT, the island’s largest teachers’ union, has not accepted the latest offer, leading to strike action. It is planning further strikes early next year.

Local negotiating officer Geraldine O’Neill said there are hundreds of teachers concerned about pay.

She added: ‘There has been acceptance that pay erosion has taken place but no plan or commitment to address that in the future.

‘Our action in January and February will be the same unless we can sit down and discuss how we can move forward.

‘If the [DESC] want to provide a first class education system then they have to invest in that.’