The Education Secretary wants to give 130,000 teachers in England in the first five years of their career the rise from September, which would take starting salaries to £30,000. Mr Zahawi is also proposing a five percent rise for the remaining 380,000 teachers across the country.
This is a more ambitious target than the three percent currently proposed by the Government.
Mr Zahawi has made the request formally in a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
It comes after the pay review board recommended the Government increase teacher’s pay following spiralling inflation.
Although the Education Secretary is not obliged to follow the recommendation, it is understood that he is minded to do so in order to avert strikes which he feels would negatively impact children and schools.
Teacher unions have vowed to strike if they feel that any pay offer is too low.
However officials are hopeful that a significant rise for new teachers would encourage their more senior colleagues to not walk out.
Mr Zahawi is the first cabinet minister who is known to have challenged Mr Sunak’s call for pay restraint.
A source told The Daily Telegraph that teachers “deserve” a pay rise.
There is also a retention crisis with almost a fifth of newly qualified teachers leaving the profession within the first two years.
Prior to the Education Secretary’s intervention the Government had claimed that a three percent pay rise would be the biggest for teachers since 2006.
However, The National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) said it would ballot its members for strike action in November if their members were offered less than 12 percent.
Under Mr Zahawi’s proposals the starting salaries for new teachers would increase from £25,714 to £28,000.