Teaching tarnished

December 17, 1999

Teacher training recruitment for secondary schools fell short of targets this year despite costly advertising and "golden hellos".

Maths, science, modern languages and technology continued to be undersubscribed and targets were missed in most subjects.

Yet government has raised the maths target by another 10 per cent for the next three years despite this year's 23 per cent shortfall. The target for science, which was 2 per cent short, is up 13 per cent for three years.

Secondary recruitment overall was 4 per cent down on last year and 17 per cent short of target this year. This was offset by a 3 per cent rise in primary recruitment, 1 per cent over target.

Ministers claimed the "golden hellos" initiative, which offers trainees in maths and science a Pounds 2,500 tax-free handshake during training and Pounds 2,500 taxed in their first working year, had reversed the trend of declining recruitment. The scheme will be extended to modern foreign languages from next September.

But education experts and teacher training heads questioned their effectiveness. John Cater, speaking for the Standing Conference of Principals, said: "The shortfall is still significant. It won't go away until we start to pay salaries to trainees in the shortage subject areas."

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