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Teacher training misses its target

THE Government is likely to fall well short of its target for secondary teacher-training recruitment again this year - despite the introduction of pound;6,000 salaries for trainees, a TES survey has revealed.

Universities, colleges and schools report just a 7 per cent increase in postgraduate enrolments despite a 50 per cent rise in applications since the salaries were announced in March.

Ministers are pinning their hopes on the incentive, trumpeted at this week's Labour party conference by the Prime Minister, to help ease the recruitment crisis.

But, recognising the scale of staff shortages in London, the Government has made it easier for schools there to employ overseas supply staff. Teaching in London is now officially classed as a shortage occupation for immigration purposes by the Department for Education and Employment.

Schools applying for work permits to recruit non-European teachers, usually on long-term supply contracts, no longer have to demonstrate that they have been unable to employ a teacher from this country.

Meanwhile, recruitment to secondary postgraduate certificate in eduction courses will need to rise by 20 per cent this year if the Government is to hit its own targets.

The TES survey, based on information from 31 of the 90 secondary PGCE providers, suggests they will fall well short of that. The secondary PGCE target has not been hit since 1993.

Secondary school applications throughout the 1999-2000 academic year were only 9 per cent up on 1998-1999.

At London University's Institute of Education, one of the largest providers, recruitment was up 4 per cent but was still 5 per cent short of its target.

Other providers reported dramatic increases, Chester College celebrating a 77 per cent rise from 49 to 84 enrolments.

However, several disclosed continuing difficulties filling places in shortage subjects such as maths, science and modern foreign languages, where trainees receive pound;4,000 "golden hellos" on top of the salaries.

Ralph Tabberer, chief executive of the Teacher Training Agency, said the full effect of the salaries would not be felt until next year.

Additional research by

Maureen McTaggart,

Joe Perry and Esther Leach

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