Best teachers to be offered mortgage subsidies

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The Independent Online

The best teachers will get government subsidies to help their mortgages as part of the "most radical reform of London's schools since the Second World War", announced yesterday by Tony Blair and Charles Clarke, the Secretary of State for Education.

The best teachers will get government subsidies to help their mortgages as part of the "most radical reform of London's schools since the Second World War", announced yesterday by Tony Blair and Charles Clarke, the Secretary of State for Education.

The scheme is among reforms intended to "put an unremitting focus" on the capital's lowest-performing schools which include the toughest threats yet to sack weak headteachers and close schools that fail to improve.

This is the first time public- sector workers have been offered mortgage subsidies, but the proposals have angered leaders of teacher and headteacher unions because they will be limited only to the cream of their profession.

Although previous schemes have helped teachers on to the London property ladder, the new document, Transforming London Secondary Schools, notes that many experienced teachers are still driven away when they want to buy a family home. The number of vacant London teaching posts is more than twice the national average.

The scheme proposes a "mortgage subsidy" to cover "a significant proportion of the costs of a mortgage and continue while the teacher remained in London". It would be a "carefully targeted scheme" for "teachers identified as potential future leaders of London's education service". If the plan is successful, subsidies would probably be extended to other public-sector workers.

The proposals focus on the boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth, Islington, Haringey and Hackney, and the 40 worst- performing schools. Mr Blair said 20 secondary schools would be built in the capital, 30 specialist City Academies would be formed and 15 sixth-form colleges set up by 2008.

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