pound;200m spent to woo graduate teachers

8th May 2009 at 01:00
But priority subjects still lack sufficient staff

Nearly pound;200 million of Government cash has been spent in eight years in a bid to attract graduates to teach maths, science and IT.

But despite the golden hellos, the Department for Children, Schools and Families is still falling short of its target for teachers of priority subjects that traditionally struggle to recruit staff.

However, religious education still pays out pound;2,500 per graduate each year even though the subject was oversubscribed in 2008. Music pays out the same sum despite filling 97 per cent of its places. More than 6,000 graduates apply for the cash every year.

Last month, The TES published figures from the Graduate Teacher Training Registry showing that only 71 per cent of maths teacher posts were being filled and only 58 per cent of ICT places have graduate applicants. However, the figures are significantly up on last year.

David Laws, the Liberal Democrat education spokesman who raised the issue in a parliamentary question last week, said the Government needed to overhaul the agreement on pay and conditions for teachers.

He said: "I am sceptical about the effectiveness of the golden hellos. Hundreds of millions have been spent on them, yet recruitment targets in shortage subjects are still being missed.

"The Government should reform the bureaucratic and complex National Pay and Conditions so that headteachers have more freedom to create their own incentives to recruit excellent teachers."

A DCSF spokesperson said: "Golden hellos and bursaries are vital in attracting talented individuals who otherwise would have gone into other industries.

"There has never been a better time to become a teacher."

Heads hard to find

Governors at one in five schools still have to readvertise headteacher vacancies, writes Kerra Maddern.

An analysis of the 1,930 maintained schools across England and Wales seeking a new headteacher for the first time since September 2008 shows that 20 per cent of primaries, 13 per cent of secondaries and 15 per cent of special schools and pupil referral units have already had to re- advertise their vacancy.

The research, by Education Data Surveys, owned by The TES's parent company, says this figure is likely to rise because schools struggling to recruit a new head might take alternative measures such as employing an acting head or embarking on a federation.

EDS's Professor John Howson said parts of London were "hot spots": "One in five primary schools across London have so far had to re-advertise a headship vacancy since last September, with parts of south London particularly badly affected," he said.

"Counties to the north and east of London have struggled to appoint heads to secondaries, partly because of the high salaries now on offer in the capital, where a six-figure starting salary is commonplace."

Current figures suggest that, despite Government predictions of increasing numbers of retirements among headteachers, recruitment problems have not worsened since 200708.

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