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'I didn't even know I was going to get pound;4,000'

James Robinson will not be turning down his "golden hello". Like thousands of new teachers over the past few years, he was promised the cash by the Government to take up a job in a shortage subject.

This term an extra pound;4,000 drops into his pay packet, a year after he started as a maths teacher at the Djanogly academy, in Nottingham.His science colleague Matt Ashley is also in line for a golden hello.

Mr Robinson, 23, who has university debts of pound;14,000, welcomed the bonus but said it was not the reason he took up the job. And he doubted the cash incentives would alleviate shortages elsewhere in teaching. "When I started my PGCE I didn't even know about the golden hello," he said. "I wanted to be a maths teacher and the extra money didn't really come into it."

Tony Staneff, 26, was among the first wave of trainees to get a golden hello in 2000. The maths teacher at St Aidan's School in Harrogate said the extra Pounds 4,000 had tempted many of his university peers to consider teaching. But, he said: "It did not make too much difference to me.

Teaching was always what I wanted to do, but it was a factor for a lot of other teachers."

He doubts if extra pay would attract staff to inner-city schools. "Someone could offer another pound;10,000, but there are so many factors you always consider first, like the management of a school, that the money alone would never be enough."

Maths teacher Chris Newns, 22, is in line for the pound;4,000 in September 2005 after a year at Great Sankey high school, Warrington. Although he welcomed it, he fears it could encourage people into teaching for the wrong reasons.

"I must admit, the pound;6,000 we got to see us through the PGCE was important. Many people could not afford to do the course without it.

But people should not be choosing which school to go into just to get a little bit more money to pay off a loan."

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