Teachers urged to help win recruits

3rd April 1998 at 01:00
The Government's chief recruitment strategist has accused universities and local authorities of failing to play their part in solving the looming teacher shortage.

In an article in today's TES Anthea Millett, chief executive of the Teacher Training Agency, warns that its whole recruitment drive risks being undermined because of lack of support from teacher-training departments and local education authorities.

And she urges teachers themselves to do more to win recruits, insisting that the strategy's success depends on them acting as "the best advocates of their profession".

Her remarks reflect growing frustration at what the agency sees as widespread complacency by its "key partners" over the growing shortage of teaching recruits.

Critics, however, will see them as an attempt to divert attention from the agency's own record and the Government's recent decision to phase in the teachers' salary rise.

Last autumn, the agency announced measures designed to tackle shortages, including setting national teacher-training targets to attract enough good applicants by 2002. It also launched a cinema campaign, which will shortly be followed by national television adverts featuring Tony Blair.

Ms Millett defends the campaign as "exceptionally successful", resulting in 1,000 inquiries a week from potential recruits. A recent BBC Panorama, which highlighted the growing staffing crisis, generated 600 calls to the agency's hotline in a day.

While Ms Millett is quick to praise teacher associations and other "stakeholders" for getting behind the agency's strategy, others had been slower to react.

"Some partners have been very active in our support; some, however, assume that their signature on a document is an adequate contribution. It is not. While I am grateful for their moral support, I am now looking for a more substantial contribution," she said.

In her article, she announces plans to back up the agency's national targets by setting annual targets for individual teacher-training departments. Those which meet their targets will be rewarded, while those who fail could face penalties. The details have still to be decided.

What the teachers say, page 6

Platform, page 18

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