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Friday, 29 September, 2000, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
'Extra pay' for tough teaching
Australian teacher in Croydon
Teachers have been recruited from Australia
Education ministers want schools in England that are having trouble recruiting teachers to be able to pay an extra allowance, similar to that available to failing schools.

They have asked the School Teachers Review Body (STRB), which recommends salary levels each year, to consider the idea to try to tackle the teacher shortages in some inner city areas in particular.

A DfEE spokesman said it would be for the independent body to decide how much the allowance should be.

The development comes as a survey suggests that although enrolment on teacher training courses was up 7% this year it was well short of the target figure.

'Challenging' schools

A 3,765 "recruitment and retention" allowance is currently available only to teachers working in London or in schools judged by inspectors to be failing their pupils.

"In our evidence to the STRB, we asked them to consider whether the existing constraints on recruitment and retention allowances should be amended or relaxed for schools in the most challenging circumstances," the spokesman said.

"We are asking the STRB to consider further allowances beyond the current maximum.

"That would give schools more flexibility to offer incentives."

Responding to the idea, the Conservatives' spokesman on education, Theresa May, said Labour was out of touch.

"There is a teacher recruitment crisis in schools across the country and not just in 'challenging' schools," she said.

"This government's response is to tinker with regulations. It would be far better to give schools the freedom within their own budgets to decide pay packages to reflect local needs."

Recruitment below target

Research by the Times Educational Supplement (TES) suggests that secondary schools are likely to continue to have difficulties finding staff, despite the introduction of 6,000 bursaries for trainees and 4,000 "golden hellos" for maths and science teachers.

The TES polled 31 of 90 postgraduate certificate of education providers and found that a 62% rise in applications was not translating into higher numbers entering training.

The Department for Education said the survey was only partial and the true picture would not become clear before the end of October.

Targets for primary teacher recruitment had already been met, a spokesman said.

Shortage areas

Last week the department released figures showing that there were 1,000 vacancies in secondary schools in England - compared with 1,250 in January.

Shortages were concentrated in specific regions and subjects - with 70% of the vacancies in London and the south east.

The subjects with the greatest recruitment problems were science, maths and design and technology.

But unions say the problem is far more widespread and is masked only by schools employing various strategies to "paper over the cracks".

See also:

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