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Monday, 30 October, 2000, 14:15 GMT
New drive for more teachers
Estelle Morris at the launch of the recruitment drive at the Barbican Centre, London
Estelle Morris is shown the new "can teach" website
"Those who can, teach" is the slogan spearheading a renewed campaign to recruit more people into teaching posts in England and Wales.

At a time when there is fierce competition for good graduates, the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) is hoping to attract high calibre graduates - as well as those seeking a change of career - into the profession.

Teaching is by far the largest recruiter, with up to 20,000 places a year.

Ralph Tabberer
Ralph Tabberer: "The drive for new teachers has got to be aggressive"
The latest marketing campaign - costing 7m - incorporates a Fast Track programme designed to accelerate those with the necessary drive and ability into senior roles in schools.

"We want to correct the misconceptions there are about teaching," chief executive of the TTA, Ralph Tabberer said.

"We want to tell people there are many reasons to go into teaching apart from the traditional vocational ones," he went on.

The recruitment campaign will highlight the increased pay, prospects and responsibilities that teachers can acquire early in their careers compared with other professions.

"The market for graduates is intense and there are lots of options for graduates and so the recruitment drive must be more aggressive," Mr Tabberer stressed.

Beer mat adverts

The drive will use advertisements in national newspapers and student papers to attract more recruits.

Slogans on beer mats - Can you handle half-pints? Can you raise spirits? - will also be used in the drive.

We have got a real challenge in some shortage subjects and in London and the South East

Estelle Morris, School Standards Minister
A television and cinema advert will be launched in December.

The TTA is also more actively targetting those seeking a change of career.

Training programmes must be made as adaptable as possible and there must be as many routes in as possible, he acknowledged.

The School Standards Minister, Estelle Morris, said: "Teaching is one of the most important jobs in the country - and we need to recruit more graduates into the profession."

Fast Track

The new Fast Track programme offers people the chance to progress more rapidly in teaching and cross the performance threshold or move to leadership positions more speedily.

"Fast Track teachers will have a development programme designed to produce higher professional standards in the classroom and the qualities and skills needed for future school leadership," Ms Morris said.

Those recruited onto the Fast Track scheme, starting in September next year, get a 5,000 bursary and a laptop computer on top of the 6,000 training salary.

The selection process aims to identify potentially high-flying candidates - either newcomers or existing teachers.

Newly qualified teachers will start one point higher on the salary scale than others. After their induction year they will be expected to perform at a level that earns double salary points for excellent performance each year.

Problems for schools

The minister acknowledged the recruitment difficulties still facing many schools.

But, she claimed, government efforts to attract graduates have prevented what would have been a drop of up to 20% in postgraduate teacher training applications this year.

Theresa May
The Conservatives' Theresa May has accused the government of complacency over the teacher shortage
And a new scheme to get people to switch careers, which pays them 13,000 while they retrain on the job, was proving extremely popular, she said.

"While teacher vacancies in schools nationally remain broadly the same as last year, we clearly need to do more," she said.

"We have got a real challenge in some shortage subjects and in London and the South East - and we are doing everything we can to meet it," Ms Morris said.

"But we also need to look to the future. Delivering and sustaining improvements in standards will require a steady a flow of high quality teachers. That's why this campaign is so important."

'Puff of smoke'

The Conservatives - who last week accused Labour of complacency over the shortage of teachers - said young people knew teachers were under more pressure than ever.

"Teachers are leaving the profession in their droves," said the shadow education secretary, Theresa May.

"Those who are left behind are crying out for a reduction in bureaucracy and improvements in discipline.

"Labour's cash injection proves they recognises there is a problem - but it's a problem of their own making.

"This campaign, like all their bright ideas, will go up in a puff smoke. It's no wonder the Teacher Training Agency chose 'two sticks to make a fire' as their campaign icon."

The general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Doug McAvoy, said he welcomed the new initiative but sympathised with the Teacher Training Agency's difficulties in publicising teaching as an attractive career.

"Currently the TTA has the impossible task of promoting a job which is plagued by excessive workload, low basic rates of pay and high levels of stress," he said.

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See also:

26 Oct 00 | Education
Tories attack teacher shortages
07 Apr 00 | Education
Teacher shortage 'growing'
04 Aug 00 | Education
Cash offer to recruit teachers
09 Oct 00 | Education
Parents angry at four-day school week
21 Sep 00 | Education
Blunkett rejects teacher 'crisis'
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