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ALMOST a quarter of vacancies in English secondary schools at the start of this year were for maths teachers, according to schools minister Estelle Morris.

In January, there were almost 1,000 reported vacancies in secondary schools, 233 of which were in maths. London accounted for 77 unfilled posts, with a further 30 in Kent and Essex.

The other major shortage subjects were science (156 vacancies), English 129), design and technology (110) and languages (107).

Ms Morris was replying to a question from Plaid Cymru MP Elfin Llwyd. She said that the number of teachers in maintained schools increased by 6,900 between January 1998 and January 2000.

However, a survey by the Department for Education and Employment during the first week of last September showed that there were still around 1,000 vacancies.

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