Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, July 20, 1999 Published at 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK


Teacher recruitment figures disputed

The government says it is tackling recruitment problems

Teachers' unions and the government have drawn opposite conclusions from the latest figures on students applying for teacher training.

The fall in applications for undergraduate teaching courses - 22% at secondary and 11% at primary - has been cited by teachers' unions as evidence that there is still a serious recruitment problem.

But the government says the most important statistic is for postgraduate teacher training, which has shown a 4.5% increase in applications.

[ image: Shortage subjects such as maths offer a £5,000 bonus to new teachers]
Shortage subjects such as maths offer a £5,000 bonus to new teachers
The government argues that its efforts have been focused on encouraging graduates with a specialist subject to enter teacher training and that it is this increase in applications for postgraduate courses which is most significant.

It also says that despite the fall in undergraduate applications, it still means that there are more than five applications per place.

"The drop in undergraduate B Ed courses shows the size of the hole approaching in teacher recruitment, which is outweighing the increase in numbers on postgraduate courses," said John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association.

The fall in applications showed the "long-term inadequacy of existing pay levels" for teachers, said Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers.

But despite Mr McAvoy's assertion that "this shows that the government's short-term bribes haven't worked with young people", the government says that its use of cash incentives has dramatically increased applications.

Cash incentive

Prime Minister Tony Blair announced On Monday that the "golden hello" scheme, in which students entering teacher training in shortage subjects are given £5,000, will be extended to modern language teachers.

The offer of the cash incentive for students beginning teacher training for maths and science has seen applications rise by more than 35% for maths, 36% for physics and 26% for chemistry.

According to the government, the targeting of such shortage areas has seen the recruitment problem diminish.

"Over a thousand more graduates have applied for postgraduate teacher training this year compared to the same time last year," said the Education Minister, Baroness Blackstone.

"In particular the £5,000 "golden hello" programme for new maths and science teachers has had a dramatic effect on recruitment of teachers in those subjects."

"It is also clear that we should have no difficulty meeting our target for primary teacher training this year.

"Latest figures for undergraduate applications mean that institutions have more than five applications per place and do not take into account the increasing trend for teachers to train via a Postgraduate Certificate of Education."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Education Contents

Hot Topics
UK Systems
League Tables

Relevant Stories

19 Jul 99†|†Education
Blair's cash offer to language teachers

14 May 99†|†Education
Teacher recruitment 'improving'

13 Mar 99†|†Education
Bursary idea for trainee teachers

09 Jan 99†|†Education
Teacher recruitment drive 'must try harder'

03 Jan 99†|†Education
Drive to find more teachers

27 Oct 98†|†Education
'Golden hellos' for maths and science teachers

26 Aug 98†|†Education
Teacher recruitment crisis worsens

Internet Links

Teacher Training Agency

National Union of Teachers

Secondary Heads Association

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

'Golden hellos' fail to attract new teachers

Children join online Parliament

Pupils 'too ignorant to vote'

Red tape toolkit 'not enough'

Poor report for teacher training consortium

Specialist schools' results triumph

Ex-headmaster guilty of more sex charges

Blunkett welcomes Dyke's education commitment

Web funding for specialist teachers

Local authorities call for Woodhead's sacking

Dyslexic pensioner wins PhD

Armed forces children need school help

Black pupils 'need better-trained teachers'

College 'is not cool'