The schools minister has refused to say whether more cash will be made available for larger pay rises for teachers.

Nick Gibb used education questions in the Commons today to dodge questions on schools’ ability to afford pay rises now that the public sector pay cap has been lifted.

This year, the School Teachers Review Body (STRB), which advises the government on teacher pay scales, has been given the flexibility to recommend a rise above the one-per-cent cap that has restricted increases for school staff since 2011.

Teaching and leadership unions have demanded an immediate five-per-cent raise for their members, but warned that this must be fully funded to prevent the financial burden falling on already-struggling schools.

Gibb was asked of Chester MP Christian Matheson about how pay rises will be funded.

“Will ministers confirm that when the hated one-per-cent pay cap is lifted, that the balance will be paid entirely from central funds, and not be foisted onto the schools themselves?” Matheson said.

Gibb replied that the government’s position over pay flexibility was “clear”, but failed to address the matter of extra funding for schools.

“The public sector pay cap is no longer in place, and we have adopted a more flexible approach to public sector pay. We have asked the School Teachers Review Body to use this flexibility to target the next pay award to promote recruitment and retention,” he said.

The STRB is expected to submit its report to the government imminently.