Students willing to train as teachers in shortage subjects could have their debts paid off by the Government, under Teacher Training Agency proposals, writes Josephine Gardiner.
The "golden hellos" will be conditional on the student agreeing to remain in teaching for two or three years, but then they would also be rewarded with a lump sum.
Anthea Millett, chief executive of the TTA, will submit these latest recruiting schemes to the School Teachers Review Body in September. The plan is one response to declining applications from trainees in shortage subjects such as technology, maths, science and modern languages. The agency believes that the prospect of another year in debt as a student could be putting off potential applicants to post-graduate certificate in education courses.
The proposals form part of a recruitment blitz to be launched in late September. The agency will be holding meetings with the subject associations in the shortage areas over the next couple of months and in September will be calling on universities, business, local education authorities and schools themselves to join in various "evangelical" activities. These groups would be given recruitment targets to meet.
For example, said an agency spokesman, schools could be involved in giving work experience in teaching to school-leavers, so that they left with a positive and well-informed image of the profession. Education authorities and universities could hold "teaching fairs" and other promotional events, and, he said, there might be a case for televised "teaching Oscars" in order to "inject a little glitz and glamour".
The agency is looking at recruitment practice in Europe and the US. "In America, there is a programme in which a group of high-performing teachers goes out and talks up the profession - this has had impressive results."