Teacher placements survive

April 17, 1998

The government has made a U-turn on plans to axe a highly regarded Pounds 2 million scheme that places thousands of teachers on short secondments to firms.

Leading industry bodies, including the Engineering Employers Federation and the Institute of Directors, had lobbied hard against axing the scheme.

Funding for the Teacher Placement Scheme, which began in 1989 and provides 40,000 teachers with first-hand experience of business, was planned to end in March. In a letter last November to Margaret Beckett, president of the Board of Trade, a clutch of leading industry bodies led by the EEF warned that stopping the scheme would mean the dissolution of a "very productive" programme, one of "the most successful examples of partnerships between industry and education".

The bodies said the TPS was "excellent value for money" and since inception had catered for 250,000 teachers, giving them a greater understanding of the importance of the role of business. "It also better equips them for providing advice and support on careers prospects and opportunities, a weakness in the education system," added the organisations, which also include the Federation of Electronics Industries, British Electro-technical and Allied Manufacturers Association, and the Federation of Small Businesses.

The onslaught has resulted in the government agreeing to renew funding for the scheme for another year pending further reviews. EEF's education and training officer Ann Bailey said: "This will provide us with valuable breathing space to convince the government of the merits of the initiative."

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