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Recruitment surge: maths leads the way

A massive boost to recruitment in secondary shortage subjects has been announced by School Standards Minister David Miliband, with maths and technology showing the biggest increases, writes Joe Clancy.

Maths soared by 25 per cent, English by 10 per cent, science by 12 per cent, modern languages by 3 per cent, and technology by 40 per cent, in figures released last month (April).

Overall, the figures show teacher training recruitment this year is 20 per cent higher than in 19992000, involving an extra 5,000 students. At the end of March, there had been 34,014 applications for PGCE courses in England, compared with 29,445 at the same date last year.

Primary applications are up 19 per cent on last year, while secondary subjects are up 11 per cent.

In three years since March 2000, maths has shown an 84 per cent increase while physics and chemistry have gained 70 and 80 per cent respectively.

Information and communications technology, a new subject in 2000, has seen a five-fold increase in applications.

Mr Miliband said: "This is the first time we have seen a thousand graduates applying to be maths teachers and two thousand to be science teachers before the end of March.

"The number of male graduates applying to be primary teachers has also improved. So far, 750 more men would like to be primary school teachers."

He attributed the increase to the bursaries and "golden hellos" being offered, reinforced by the scheme for the repayment of student loans.

He added: "Better pay for teachers is also helping to make teaching a more attractive career for graduates, with a new teacher in 1997 now earning over 66 per cent more. And the new measures to tackle excessive workload will make a major difference."

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