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Potential high-flyers fail to take up places

THE multi-million Government scheme to recruit high-flying teachers to take part in a fast-track programme leading to management, is failing to find enough candidates. So far only 135 students have been offered places. The 10 fast-track universities had predicted 200 students would start courses this autumn, down on their own previous estimate of 300.

Ministers have previously said that up to 1,000 teachers a year would eventually take part. The scheme, which aims to identify an elite cadre of students and accelerate them to management positions, is due to be extended to qualified teachers this autumn.

Some of the universities are worried about the high costs of the scheme. They stand to get an extra pound;200-a-head per fast-track student, while a consortium headed by Interactive Skills is being paid pound;9.2 million over three years to develop and run the recruitment process. The fast-trackers will be given leadership training and special projects on a school placement.

Phil Willis, the Liberal Democrats' education spokesman, said: "This is the most expensive recruitment flop in the history of teacher recruitment."

But a Department for Education and Skills spokeswoman said: "The number of places offered is broadly what was foreseen for the first round."

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