Hundreds of millions pounds spent on "golden hellos" and training salaries to attract people into teaching have been wasted, according to a leading academic.
The money has gone to people who were likely to have entered the profession anyway and has done little to recruit the much larger number who reject teaching as a career, a study found.
Recruitment analysts estimate that the Government has spent up to pound;800 million on one-off payments of pound;4,000 to recruits in shortage subjects and salaries of pound;6,000 for postgraduate trainees. Both schemes were introduced four years ago.
Ministers plan to increase training salaries and golden hellos by pound;1,000 for maths trainees from next September.
Professor Stephen Gorard of York university said that his research showed that many teacher entrants were not aware of the incentives when they applied.
His study is based on questionnaires completed by 1,845 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Of these, 550 wanted to be teachers, 621 had considered teaching but rejected it and 674 had no interest in the profession.
Professor Gorard said that the Government needed to convince people that teachers' status was high and that they had good working conditions and salaries.
Maths and science graduates are particularly unlikely to consider teaching attractive because they consider it lacks prospects and intellectual stimulus.
John Bangs, National Union of Teachers' head of education, said: "Our evidence shows recruitment incentives have an initial effect but that this dies away quickly."
News 3, 8; Leader 26