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EDITIONS
Friday, 27 July, 2001, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Parents urged to consider teaching
Class
Many schools in England are struggling to recruit
A county council has written to parents with children in local schools, urging them to consider a career as a teacher.

Hampshire County Council has issued more than 170,000 letters in what it describes as a "proactive response" to national trends.


My specific purpose in writing to you is to ask whether you, or someone you know, is interested in teaching or is a qualified teacher already

Andrew Seber, education officer
Teacher shortages in England hit the headlines in recent months, with some schools having to introduce reduced timetables and four-day weeks.

Hampshire has 62 vacancies in primary schools and 23 in secondaries across nearly 600 schools.

So far, the council has heard back from 60 people, 95% of whom are former teachers, a council spokeswoman said.

'Proactive'

The scheme was not a panic measure and was mainly aimed at former teachers, the spokeswoman said.

"There's not a huge teacher recruitment crisis in Hampshire - it's a case of us being aware of the national trend.

"This isn't a short-term measure, as clearly it would take a while for the people to come through," she said.

"It's about the council being proactive, being aware of measures to support existing teachers and attracting former teachers back to the profession."

Doug McAvoy
Doug McAvoy says the government must sit up and take notice
The letter, from the county education officer, Andrew Seber, stressed the council was doing "a great deal of work" to help schools fill their vacancies.

"My specific purpose in writing to you is to ask whether you, or someone you know, is interested in teaching or is a qualified teacher already but not working in a school or unit," the letter says.

"We have a range of information and refresher courses for people wanting to come back after a time away from teaching."

The letter also indicates the authority would be prepared to accommodate those wanting to return to teaching on a job-sharing, part-time basis - even if this means classes being taught the same subject by different teachers at different times of the week.

"Changes to routines will be part of schools' positive approach to recruitment and head teachers and governors will appreciate our support and understanding about the reasons if, for example, a class is taught by more than one teacher," the letter says.

'Desperate crisis'

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said Hampshire's recruitment drive was an example of the approaches having to be taken by local authorities as they tried to cope with the desperate crisis facing the profession.

"The government must see that the action it has taken has been inadequate and ill-directed to overcome the problems schools face," Mr McAvoy said.

There must be no "dilution" of the graduate-level qualifications people needed in order to join the profession, he added.

See also:

09 May 01 | Vote2001
23 Apr 01 | UK Education
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