Teachers in England could earn up to £70,000 a year if their schools introduced Performance-Related Pay, according to a new study.

The conservative-leaning thank tank Policy Exchange argued the introduction of PRP into schools in England can improve teaching and learning but it must be fair, transparent and reward real excellence.

The organisation's report, Reversing the "Widget Effect", comes after the introduction of PRP in England in September 2013 and the first pay increases under the new regime will be awarded from September this year.

The study suggested that while pay in itself is not the primary motivator for the majority of teachers, the best performing teachers should be rewarded for excellence under a fair and transparent system.

The think-tank said under a performance-related pay system, rather than a time based system, top teachers would be able to earn as much as £70,000 ($115,255, €84,264) a year without leaving the classroom within an estimated five to eight years.

According to the Department for Education, qualified teachers in maintained schools currently earn a minimum of £21,804 (or £27,270 in inner London), whereas senior teachers can up to £64,677 in London and £57,520 outside London.

The paper said that this could attract more graduates to the profession, driving up the quality of teaching in schools across the country.

The report also found that most teachers welcome the principle behind it.

A YouGov poll for the report found that a vast majority (89%) of teachers want to be paid based on the quality of their teaching.

However, the report warned that the system for awarding increases must be fair, and performance-related pay must be used as a real reward for excellence and not a way of holding down the overall pay bill.