Teachers should receive an immediate 5% pay rise, education trade unions said on Tuesday.
In a letter to Education Secretary Justine Greening, the unions warned restricting pay had reduced the supply of teachers and pay levels had fallen behind other graduate professions.
The letter, signed by The Association of School and College Leaders, the National Association of HeadTeachers, the National Education Union, UCAC, and Voice, said: "After seven years of real terms cuts in the value of pay due to the Government's public sector pay policy, we believe that a significant pay increase is now required for all teachers and school leaders.
"The situation is now so critical that it requires firm and decisive action. In order to support and secure recruitment and retention, teachers' pay levels must be restored at least to the levels that existed before the start of pay restraint in 2010.
"We believe that teachers must be given an immediate pay rise of 5% in 2018 as a step towards this.
"It is absolutely essential that all pay rises, including any increases in costs, are fully met by additional Government funding given the reality that 88% of schools in England and all maintained schools in Wales currently face further real terms cuts over the life of this Parliament."
A Department for Education spokesman said: "It is vital that we have the best people teaching in our schools if we are to raise standards and ensure all pupils can reach their full potential.
"Over the past four years teachers' pay has been fundamentally reformed, based on recommendations by an independent School Teachers Review body.
"We are investing £1.3 billion up to 2020 to attract the best and brightest into teaching, head teachers have greater freedom to offer competitive starting salaries and teachers' pay is now linked to performance to pay good teachers more."