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Bonus urged to attract staff

MINISTERS are being pressed to pay newly-qualified teachers loyalty bonuses of up to pound;10,000 if they agree to teach in an area for five years.

Council officials in Medway want to wipe out student loan debt in their own "golden hello" scheme for NQTs, but cannot afford to fund it on their own.

The Government already offers big incentives for students in postgraduate teacher training. A graduate could collect a pound;6,000 training salary, and an extra pound;4,000 for studying a shortage subject (maths, technology, modern foreign languages, and science). And from next September, the most able graduates will get pound;5,000 more if they follow a fast-track training rote.

With a Medway-style incentive on top, that would add up to pound;25,000 over six years.

The idea, from Richard Bolsin, Medway's director of education, comes as a TES survey reveals that just three out of 1,500 NQTs failed their induction year. Four of the seven councils surveyed had no failures, including one of the largest, Birmingham, where all 398 new teachers passed.

The probationary period was re-introduced for 1999-2000. New teachers are treated as fully-qualified but a tenth of their time is set aside for extra training. Those who fail the year lose their qualified-teacher status. They cannot repeat the year but they can appeal.

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