HUNDREDS of schools have applied to offer on-the-job teacher training to graduates after the Government agreed to foot the bill.
In March, the Department for Education and Employment announced it would offer schools up to pound;17,000 to meet the salary and training costs of a mature trainee taken on for work-based training.
Six hundred schools and training providers have responded by offering to take on a trainee for next term.
The applications are yet to be vetted by the Teacher Training Agency.
But the news means that the agency is on course to hit its target of doubling the number of people taken on under the programme in 2000-01.
Last year, only 800 people trained nder the scheme - known as the Graduate and Registered Teacher Programme - despite thousands of applications from would-be trainees.
The lack of response from schools was largely because they have been unwilling to meet most of the cost of taking on an untried trainee.
This year, armed with the funding incentive, the TTA hopes to offer places for 500 trainees a term.
If new recruitment campaigns to be launched for the spring and summer terms are equally successful, it will hit its target of filling 1,500 places next year.
Schools interested in the scheme should ring the TTA publications unit on 0845 606 0323 or visit the TTA's web-site at www.teach-tta.gov.uk