HC Deb 26 April 2001 vol 367 c442
13. Mr. Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby)

What proposals he has for improving teacher recruitment in North-East Lincolnshire. [157920]

The Minister for School Standards (Ms Estelle Morris)

Schools in north-east Lincolnshire are already benefiting from the fact that there are more teachers in post in England than at any time since 1984. They come on top of an expansion of the graduate teacher programme to 2,250 places in England in a full year, the introduction nationally of new courses for those returning to teaching and further improvements to teachers' pay, including a 6 per cent. rise for newly qualified teachers.

Mr. Mitchell

Like everyone else, I am delighted at the Government's efforts to improve teacher recruitment. That is only right and proper. However, we have a particular problem in north-east Lincolnshire in that more than 12 schools now have 49 vacancies: seven in technology, seven in English and seven in mathematics. It is important that kids from Grimsby should not be disadvantaged by any prolongation of this crisis. Will the Government consider special incentives for the recruitment of teachers to areas of particular difficulty and, within that, special incentives for recruitment to schools in disadvantaged areas?

Ms Morris

My hon. Friend is right. There is a series of measures—apart from the general ones that I mentioned in my answer—aimed at shortage subjects and at those areas of the country that have particular difficulty in recruiting. This is the time of the year when vacancies occur, because it is the point at which teachers move from one school to another—clearly, every school in every local authority will be advertising. I know that my hon. Friend will be reassured that in each of the areas that he mentioned there have been large increases in applicants to start teacher training this year. I know that they will take a year to come through, whereas, of course, this September, the extra students—more than 2,400—who started training last year will have completed their training and will be joining schools. I very much hope that schools in his constituency will be able to recruit from them as well as from the record number of people who are leaving teacher training.