Teacher recruitment has increased but leaders say the 'crisis' goes on

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The Independent Online

Recruitment to teacher training is up for the first time in eight years, but the numbers still fall short of government targets, according to official figures to be released today.

Recruitment to teacher training is up for the first time in eight years, but the numbers still fall short of government targets, according to official figures to be released today.

Ministers said new training salaries of up to £10,000 introduced in March had helped to attract more trainees, but some teachers' leaders said the crisis in recruitment remained and accused the Government of "clutching at straws".

The official statistics for this year's recruits to all primary and secondary courses show that 28,000 people were accepted on to teacher training courses this autumn - an increase of 8 per cent. For secondary teachers, the increase is 6 per cent. Primary teaching continues to recruit well, but secondary teaching is 13 per cent short of the targets set by the Government.

Ministers are offering training salaries of £6,000 and "golden hellos" of £4,000 in subjects where there is a shortage. Recruitment has improved in modern languages and technology. But in maths, the numbers going into teacher training are much the same as last year, amounting to just over two-thirds of the target. In science, recruitment is slightly higher, but the number wanting to train in physics is again down.

The Schools minister, Estelle Morris, said: "Teaching is the biggest recruiter of graduates in this country, and we are looking to recruit around 6,000 more teachers a year than a decade ago. Our recruitment targets remain a huge challenge, but our strategy is working. The number of teachers in our schools is the highest for 10 years. Although the secondary target has not been met since 1992-93, we have halved the shortfall.

Doug McAvoy, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "The Government is clutching at straws. This is a tiny increase in actual numbers on last year. It goes no way to meeting the crisis the profession faces."

John Dunford, the general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "I would have thought that they would have expected a far bigger increase after introducing the training salaries."

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