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On-the-job training relieves shortages

SCHOOL-based training is attracting more teachers into shortage subjects such as maths and languages than conventional university courses.

But new Teacher Training Agency data also shows that maths trainees are the least well-qualified subject specialists.

While recruitment has improved it is 20 per cent lower than in 1996 - the year before shortages began - despite the introduction of pound;4,000 golden hellos three years ago.

For the first time this year a breakdown is given on employment-based routes such as the Graduate Teacher Programme. An analysis by Professor Alan Smithers and Dr Pamela Robinson of Liverpool university shows that the programme has grown from 89 places in 199798 to around 4,750 places for the coming academic year.

Professor Smithers said the graduate programme had been more successful than traditional courses in attracting men to primary classrooms, ethnic-minority trainees into primary and secondary schools and people into shortage subjects.

More than a fifth of GTP trainees were male primary teachers, compared to 13 per cent for other routes. More than one in 10 people on the primary programme were from ethnic minorities, compared to 5.7 per cent of primary university candidates."It looks like schools are using the flexibility of GTP to recruit people they want to fill the gaps," Professor Smithers said.

Maths trainees are the least well-qualified: more than 60 per cent of English trainees had 2:1 degrees or better, compared with only 36 per cent for maths.

While recruitment has risen by 26 per cent since the 199899 low, the figure is still 20 per cent lower than 1996-97. Overall, only around a third of all GTP candidates have a 2:1 honours degree or better, compared to half or more of university trainees.

A TTA spokesman said 88 per cent of final-year trainees successfully completed their courses last year - up by 633 people. A higher percentage of those who qualified went into teaching (84.5 per cent) or searched for classroom jobs.

Staffordshire university, with only 20 business studies and economics trainees last year, beat Oxford to the top spot in Professor Smithers'

league tables, which give equal weighting to trainee qualifications, Ofsted inspection grades, and the numbers going into teaching.

Bradford college rose 53 places to 15th, thanks to improvements in its intake's qualifications. Leeds university fell 31 places to 43rd. The top primary providers were Cambridge and Manchester.

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