THE teacher recruitment crisis is now so severe that Oxford University has been unable to find trainees to study mathematics.
For the first time in its history, Oxford's Department of Educational Studies has started term with empty places. It has attracted only 15 of the 26 secondary maths students it requires to meet the Government's target.
Low teaching salaries, "irresponsible" political attacks on teachers and mounting student debt were blamed for the shortfall. The head of the Department, Professor Richard Pring, this week told The TES that student teachers should be paid a salary.
"This is the first year we have been unable to meet our target numbers for any subject at all, " he said. Mathematicians, he pointed out, are able to command much better salaries working in the private sector.
Oxford has responded by promoting teaching to its own undergraduates. It has also included a maths education module in its general maths degree.
Recruitment for secondary school training is currently 20 per cent short of the official target. Every subject is in difficulty with the exception of history, English, art and PE. Mathematics is recruiting at only 50 per cent of the target. Design and technology is worst hit of all.