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Support grows for student teachers' pay

Students training to teach shortage secondary subjects should be paid, says the Teacher Training Agency.

It has told the teachers' pay review body that "incentive funding" should be targeted on trainee teachers in maths, science, foreign languages, design and technology, IT, geography, music and RE.

It believes there is a case for final-year teaching students to be paid across the full range of subjects, but that the costs are too great.

The TTA's evidence reflects the continuing recruitment crisis - particularly in secondary schools. Vacancy rates in schools have risen again this year and in inner London are now running at four times the national average.

Charles Clarke, the schools standards minister, has already raised the issue of paying trainee teachers with the TTA's chief executive Anthea Millett.

This policy was backed by the Liberal Democrats, who this week launched Valuing Human Capital, a campaign in support of teachers and nurses. It urges the Government to pay teachers and nurses a wage that will motivate them and make the professions attractive to young people.

Don Foster, Liberal Democrat education spokesman, said: "We will judge the Government's approach to teachers' pay on whether it attracts the highest-quality people to enter and remain in teaching. Any reform must be fair, credible and lead to genuine modernisation of the profession.

"The Government could go a long way towards solving the teacher recruitment crisis if it adopted our policy of introducing a training salary for student teachers of around 50 per cent of the average teaching starting salary. "

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