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Partnership is the key to tackling teacher recruitment challenges;Letter

IT IS disappointing that my call to arms to help meet supply and demand problems in recruitment to initial teacher training met with such a defensive response in your letters page (TES, April 17), no doubt prompted by your front-page story.

We shall only tackle recruitment issues by working together, as I first set out at the North of England conference in January 1996. I have been advocating a partnership approach since then, and the TTA's recruitment strategy has partnership at its core.

While I welcome the constructive criticism of many of those who have written to The TES, I do reject Ian Kane's comments. I object to accusations of dishonesty, to his use of intemperate language and inappropriate images.

I remain convinced that only by working with all our partners - local education authorities, teacher associations and higher education (and not just initial teacher training providers) - and many others too, will we be able to tackle the many challenges facing us in teacher recruitment.

I applaud the hard work and energy that goes into the drive to attract students to initial teacher training, but perhaps we can all agree that everyone, including subject departments with whom we are working at present, can do more to tackle the structural issues to which Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson refer (TES, April 24).

I am not, therefore, ignoring the hard work that is going on; nor am I apportioning blame or, as Ian Kane suggests, trying to "shift the blame" on to anyone; what I am doing is urging all those who have signed up to the recruitment strategy to play their full part in helping us meet our targets - not for the TTA's sake, but for the sake of thousands of pupils who will benefit from high-calibre students entering teaching.

Anthea Millett, TTA, Portland House, Stag Place, London SW1

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