£7m campaign fails to attract trainee teachers

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The Independent Online

Applications to teacher training courses are down by nearly 10 per cent on last year, despite the launch of a £7m advertising campaign, according to figures published yesterday.

Applications to teacher training courses are down by nearly 10 per cent on last year, despite the launch of a £7m advertising campaign, according to figures published yesterday.

Early applications for postgraduate courses starting next year fell by 11 per cent for secondary teaching and more than 7 per cent for primary teaching, compared with the same time last year.

The figures, published by the Graduate Teacher Training Registry, raised fears of renewed problems with recruitment, despite the introduction of training salaries for students and "golden hellos" for trainees in shortage subjects like maths and science. They follow the launch of a national advertising campaign in October, based around the slogan "Those who can, teach".

Figures published earlier this year showed overall enrolment to teacher training courses starting in October up for the first time in eight years, although by too little to hit government recruitment targets. Statistics for applications during November and December, however, showed a total of 9,611 students had applied for next year's postgraduate teacher training courses by the start of December, down from 10,571 at the same point last year.

Comparisons with the same period in 1997 showed a 41 per cent drop in secondary applications and a 34 per cent fall for primary. Union leaders claim stress and low status have deterred young people from entering the profession, while employment experts point to the effect of the buoyant job market on recruitment across the public sector.

This week, the Department for Education and Employment set up a special unit to prevent schools moving to a four-day week next term. Some schools have been forced to recruit staff from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to fill vacancies.

The Liberal Democrat education spokesman, Phil Willis, accused the Government of doing too little, too late to deal with the recruitment crisis.

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