Tuesday, July 6, 1999 Published at 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Recruiting teachers is top priority
The government still needs to attract many more teachers
Boosting teacher recruitment is the top priority of the Teacher Training Agency (TTA), it has announced.
The agency says it wants to "promote teaching as a profession and boost the recruitment of high quality people".
It also plans to focus on improving the quality of initial teacher training, and increasing the proportion of training places allocated to good quality providers.
'Talented, able and committed'
These key aims are laid out in the TTA's new corporate plan for the year ahead.
They have been welcomed by School Standards Minister Estelle Morris, who said the agency had achieved a "great deal" in the past five years.
And she said it wanted the TTA to be more directly accountable for meeting recruitment targets.
"This is not a buck-passing exercise," she said. "The agency will be involved in the construction and setting of targets, and once they are in place we will be looking to the TTA to deliver on them."
The corporate plan has been revealed as the teacher recruitment crisis continues.
Ms Morris said in May that government was "turning the corner" on the crisis, but teachers' leaders argue that government initiatives introduced to try to ease the crisis have failed.
Speaking on Tuesday, Ms Morris said the government had high expectations of the TTA.
She said: "The continued commitment and drive of the TTA board and staff as well as initial teaching training providers, will be essential if the government's Green Paper reforms are to be a success.
"The image of the teacher must be given a vigorous push. Teaching should be viewed with the same high esteem and respect as other professions.
"It is vital that we address the current teacher shortages. Ensuring that there are enough good quality teachers to go around is essential if we are to continue to raise standards in schools."