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Fountain of youth it isn't

Teachers have complained to the advertising watchdog over claims in a new recruitment campaign that working in the classroom is "better than any anti-ageing cream" for keeping you young.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) confirmed this week it had received nine (and still counting) complaints about one of the Teacher Training Agency's (TTA) new television adverts.

The ads have also appeared in Wales, where the TTA has a limited role in marketing and promoting the profession.

They show children at two secondary schools joking with their teacher, followed by slogans such as "work with the most exciting people in the country" and "work with the finest raw materials in the world". But teachers have been incensed by one advert, part of a pound;12 million campaign, which shows grinning pupils accompanied by the voice-over:

"They're better than any anti-ageing cream."

In the past week, 88 (still counting) comments have been posted on the TES website branding the adverts "patronising", "hilarious" and "bearing little resemblance to reality". An ASA spokesman said it was investigating and if a complaint is upheld, the TTA could be forced to pull the adverts.

One 52-year-old English teacher, who did not want to be named, lodged a complaint with the ASA last week. She told The TES: "Teaching doesn't keep you young and you certainly aren't confronted with cheery, smiling children every day. I've seen many colleagues give up over the years because they are worn out."

But Mike Watkins, acting director of teacher supply and recruitment at the TTA, said the campaign had been a success, attracting a record number of enquiries.

Comments about anti-ageing cream were light-hearted but intended to reflect TTA market research, which identified that most teachers went into the profession because they enjoyed working with young people.

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