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Soldiers march to battles new...and back in Blighty;Briefing;School Management

The Teacher Training Agency was hoping to plug gaps in Britain's teacher recruitment pattern when the armed services contracted last year following the withdrawal from Hong Kong and the closure of bases in Germany. In particular, it was hoping to pick up some valuable science specialists to overcome the serious shortage of teachers.

"There are many army personnel coming to the end of their service for whom teaching is an obvious choice of career - many will be graduates or have other qualifications," a spokeswoman said. "They will also have developed strong leadership skills or have had experience in training and instruction."

The agency has been working with the armed forces resettlement agency to promote teaching and to steer military personnel towards qualifying before they leave the services.

It is also negotiating with civilian training institutions to develop fast routes into the classroom for people from the services. But so far the take-up has not been as good as expected.

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