Incentive plan for trainee teachers

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STUDENTS WHO take a year out to try teaching should get discounts off their university tuition fees, Lord Puttnam, who will chair the new body set up to regulate the teaching profession, said yesterday.

The former film producer proposed that undergraduates should be given large discounts or be exempted from paying the pounds 1,025-a-year fees to encourage them to sample a classroom career.

Lord Puttnam, who will chair the General Teaching Council from the new year, said students could "trade" their fees for teaching work, and urged ministers to end the image of the profession as a vocation for life. Students could gain up to pounds 3,075 if fees were waived for the whole of a three-year course.

Lord Puttnam said details of the scheme were still undecided, but he indicated he would put the idea to ministers soon. "It does not seem to me impossible that we could move to a system where we begin to trade university fees for teaching experience. We make it hard for ourselves to attract teachers. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to sample teaching."