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Fast-trackers given extra time to apply

The deadline for applications for fast-track teacher-training has been extended, because of the continuing recruitment crisis in the profession.

The new deadline of January 31 will be backed up by another round of advertising for the new scheme, designed to attract high-flying graduates into teaching.

A Department for Education and Employment spokesman insisted the extension, from January 5, was not due to a lack of interest. The department claims to have received 10,000 telephone enquiries, but was unable to give figures for applications made so far.

Meanwhile, officials are still hammering out the details of what fast- track recruits will be doing when they start their courses in September.

Placements in the NHS and private companies have not been ruled out, as par of a package of additional activities laid on by the DFEE and training institutions. Other plans include at least one national conference, regional events, and web-based learning materials.

The 10 universities offering the scheme can offer different fast-track activities allowing candidates some choice over the training experiences they get. The proposals range from extra teaching practice in challenging schools to additional leadership training. Students would still have to meet all the requirements of conventional postgraduate courses.

The providers and the DFEE meet again early next month to finalise course details. The first applicants for an anticipated intake of around 300 will be interviewed in February, and should know if they have been successful by March.

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