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The teacher recruitment crisis could be made even deeper by an attempt to persuade 1,200 British teachers to work in New Zealand.

A policy of reducing class sizes at the same time as a rising number of school-age children has left New Zealand "desperate for teachers", according to its ministry for education. And as an attempt to coax British teachers to take the 12,000-mile detour in their career paths, the New Zealand authorities are offering more than Pounds 1,000 to every member of staff recruited.

The education ministry has budgeted more than Pounds 10 million in a three-year programme to encourage more New Zealanders to take up teaching, while seeking trained recruits from Britain, Canada, South Africa and Australia.

Irene Lynch, the national manager for the "Teach NZ" recruitment scheme, says that as well as placing advertisements in The TES, those considering the move are being offered a free fax line on which candidates can send their details or ask for information, while the ministry will also be placing all its vacancies on an Internet site.

Interviews for the vacant posts, which schools hope to fill for the summer term in January, will either be carried out in Britain by representatives of New Zealand school principals, or by teleconferencing.

Teachers taking up the offer will be following in the footsteps of hundreds of earlier migrant teachers, with the education ministry saying that since 1996 more than 250 teachers have swapped classrooms in Britain for a new teaching career in New Zealand.

But teachers need not travel around the world to feel wanted. As the importance of recruiting and retaining staff becomes evident to employers, deals are being offered in this country to whet the appetites of potential recruits.

For example, those taking a teaching post in Essex can claim an accommodation subsidy which offers up to Pounds 75 a month off rent or a corresponding subsidy for mortgages; while in Richmond upon Thames, in a scheme that predates the recruitment crisis, newly-qualified teachers in the borough can claim Pounds 500 cash when taking up a post in July.

John Parker, responsible for Essex's recruitment initiatives, says that there is an underlying awareness that it is likely to become more difficult to find enough teachers for the full spread of subjects.

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