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Capital support

While teacher vacancies grew in other parts of the country last year, the rate in London in January was down by a third, thanks to the creative efforts of schools and authorities to fill posts or to retain existing staff. But the vacancy rate in the capital remains almost three times the national level and too often shortages are being met with overseas teachers just as sorely needed in their home countries.

So Teach for London (page 2), which aims to place some of the best graduates in the capital's classrooms for two years, promises some welcome relief for hard-pressed schools. But it could mean even more than that if city employers give it the backing US firms gave Teach for America. Their support would be a prominent endorsement of the importance of education, the skills that teaching develops and the respect the profession deserves.

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