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Teachers: Recruitment

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what funding has been allocated to the Teach First scheme for each of the next five years. (149884)

We have confirmed that Teach First will be expanding—indeed this was announced in the Budget 2005. Precise funding allocations to the teacher training providers and schools working with Teach First depend on numbers recruited against agreed targets.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to attract more of the best graduates into teaching; and if he will make a statement. (149887)

The highly successful advertising campaigns run by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) have contributed significantly to increases in graduate recruitment to teaching, and there is evidence that this has had a positive effect on schools’ ability to attract high quality teachers. Teacher vacancy rates are, at 0.6 per cent., now considerably lower than rates for other comparable professions.

Over 75 per cent. of new entrants to teacher training are now graduates who take a post graduate certificate of education or career changers on employment-based routes such as the graduate teacher programme. More trainee teachers than ever have a degree at 2:1 or higher.

We offer a training bursary of £9,000 to those taking a PGCE in shortage subjects, which currently include maths, science, English, modern foreign languages, technology, music and religious education. A golden hello of £5,000 is also paid for maths and science (£2,500 for the other shortage subjects) when a new teacher has completed their induction in schools. A bursary of £6,000 is offered to trainees taking a primary PGCE or a PGCE in history, geography and physical education.

During the past five years we have been running the student associate scheme, which focuses on maths, physics and chemistry and places high quality undergraduates in schools for up to 15 days to provide curriculum support for teachers and to carry out project work with pupils. It also gives participants a taste of teaching as a career. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills has just announced that participation in the scheme is to be doubled.

The Government also provides funding for Teach First a relatively new programme that recruits and trains particularly high-quality graduates to teach shortage subjects in challenging schools for two years, with the option to make a longer-term career in teaching beyond this time. In his statement to the House on 10 July, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families said that he will consult on a new Teach Next programme to promote mid-career routes into teaching, especially for people from industry and the sciences.