The government is once more considering introducing regionalised pay for teaching jobs, despite strong opposition from teaching unions.
Education secretary Michael Gove is now asking the private sector for advice on plans to link teachers' pay to the living costs of different areas of the country, the Times Education Supplement reports.
It cites leaked documents showing that the government wants evidence from businesses that have struggled to recruit and retain staff, as a result of national pay deals for teachers, which indicates that the Department for Education is searching for evidence to back up its desire to make the change.
According to the news provider, the British Chambers of Commerce suggests that the current system of national pay for teaching jobs has created an unfair "distortion" of the labour market, with private firms unable to match public sector salaries in poorer parts of the country.
However, Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the NUT, told the TES: "Regionalised pay is the next big threat facing teachers. Taking money out of regional economies will really damage them. A job's a job; all teachers should be paid equally to do that job. We can't rule out industrial action over this issue."
Mr Gove must consult the School Teachers' Review Body before making any changes to the conditions of teachers' pay, but the TES reports that they have not yet been contacted with an overview of the changes he intends to make.
Last month, the education secretary introduced new changes giving schools greater power to manage teaching staff from September, particularly when it comes to their appraisals.
The academy system that Mr Gove has championed also gives institutions more control over teachers' employment contracts.
When an institution converts from a local authority maintained school to a new academy, staff are able to transfer under the same employment terms and conditions, however academy trusts are able to introduce changes upon consultation with staff and their union representatives.