MORE than 4,500 graduates have applied to become teachers since the Government announced in March that pound;6,000 salaries will be paid to postgraduate trainees.
An extra 1,100 applications have been received compared to the same period last year. Positions for secondary subjects where there are shortages, for which new teachers will receive an additional pound;4,000 "golden hello", rose by 350.
Speaking at the launch of the Teacher Training Agency corporate plan in London this week, schools minister Estelle Morris said the salaries and golden hellos were "beginning to bear fruit in the way we had hoped" and were the best way to attract top graduates.
Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, welcomed the figures. "If the overnment applied it to teaching and raised all salaries by pound;6,000 that would crack the recruitment problem."
But the National Union of Teachers criticised the decision not to extend the training salaries to undergraduates taking four-year BEd degrees. Despite the upturn, between September 1999 and this May teacher recruitment fell compared to the same period last year - from almost 13,000 to 12,000 in the primary sector.
Last week Ralph Tabberer, the TTA's chief executive, said the Government's pound;10 million cinema-advertising campaign, in which the nation was told that "no one forgets a good teacher", had failed.
A conference later this month will look at ways of recruiting up to 300 teachers from ethnic backgrounds in Leeds where only one in 60 is Asian or black.