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Pilot tests to lure new teachers

Experimental studies are to be carried out to help universities tempt students into shortage subjects - and into teaching.

The Government's training and recruitment quango, the Teacher Training Agency, is to launch pilot projects in university departments.

Concentrating on traditional shortage subjects such as mathematics and modern languages, the studies will test out ways of persuading undergraduates to join the profession.

The agency's chief executive, Anthea Millett, has already told universities that they must do more to promote teaching, which has proved to unattractive to students since the end of the economic recession and higher employment prospects.

Writing in The TES on April 3, she also said that schools and local authorities should do more to promote teaching, along with professional associations and universities.

There are as yet no firm details of how the pilot studies will work, although a TTA spokeswoman said the emphasis would be on providing information, rather than prosletysing.

"Universities can help with some of the burden of recruitment," she said.

"Why not at least put the idea into students' minds? We think there's a huge role for subject departments."

The TTA also wants to see more students choosing degrees in maths and languages.

University teachers have reacted angrily to Ms Millett's suggestion that they are not playing their part.

"What a cheek she's got," said Nigel Gates, admissions tutor at the University of Hertfordshire who is also on the national executive of the Association of University Lecturers.

"Really, what more can we do? If we don't get applications from suitable students, we're the ones who suffer.

"We can't go out and shake students by the neck and say 'apply to teacher education courses'."

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