Three Rs route to lure brightest into teaching

December 4, 1998

High-flying graduate teachers will be given fast-track promotions and pay rises as part of a raft of government initiatives to tackle the teacher training recruitment crisis, announced this week.

A leaked green paper on the future of the teaching profession was due to be published yesterday after The THES went to press.

Expected to trumpet the new "three Rs" - recruitment, retention and reward - the paper is designed to reform teaching to attract high-quality graduates.

Recruitment to teacher training is at crisis point, universities have warned. Shortage subjects are dramatically undersubscribed and teacher trainees have poor average A-level results. Postgraduate trainees tend to opt for teaching as a last resort.

In weekend interviews, education secretary David Blunkett called for a "change of culture" and more of a private-sector business ethos in the profession. Teaching must be a profession graduates want to enter, he said.

To attract top graduates into a profession that sees a basic classroom teacher with no administrative duties peak after seven years at Pounds 23,000 a year, the government is expected to establish a Pounds 20 million fund to create a promotions and pay scheme for at least 1,000 of the best teachers every year.

Teachers paid on the basis of length of service will be subjected to annual examinations.

The scheme will be complemented by performance-related pay, available to all teachers. It is understood that private consultants will assess teachers' performance, judging classroom performance and results.

Mary Russell, secretary of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, said: "We welcome any measures to improve recruitment to teacher training and to raise the image and status of the profession."

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