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TTA's first target is poor recruits

The quality of people choosing to enter the teaching profession needs to improve, and quickly, according to the new Teacher Training Agency.

The agency's chief executive, Anthea Millett, last week said that raising the standard of entrants would be the agency's first priority, pointing to a finding by the Office for Standards in Education that one in ten new teachers is unsuited to the job.

Ms Millett said: "This is something we can actually do something about. The system spends an awful amount of money interviewing students as part of the recruitment process."

She said the training agency believed that "we might be able to reduce that one in ten".

The agency has already said it will be exploring ways of attracting more people, and possibly older people, into the profession.

Ms Millett also promised an improvement in the quality of in-service training, with a register of the organisations providing in-service training to approved standards.

The TTA was established by the 1994 Education Act and is responsible for distributing grants to training institutions, for monitoring the quality of their work, and for attracting new teachers.

The agency has replaced two previous bodies, the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Teaching as a Career unit, and has also taken over the funding duties from the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and Wales.

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