§ Mr. Key
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what is his policy towards providing financial support for teacher recruitment and retraining initiatives by local education authorities in relation to the problems of teacher shortages identified by his Department;
(2) what information is available to his Department on any teacher recruitment and retraining initiatives being undertaken by local education authorities in relation to the problems of teacher shortages identified by his Department; what steps are being taken by his Department to promote good practice; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Butcher
The recruitment, employment and deployment of teachers is the responsibility of local 405W education authorities and schools. It is for them to determine the level of recruitment and retraining necessary in the light of their own needs. The costs of retraining are eligible for support through the LEA training grants scheme. The Department is aware of good practice and special measures in a number of local authorities. The teaching as a career unit whose remit has just been extended for three years, promotes good practice in recruitment on the basis of guidelines agreed by my Department.
§ Mr. Key
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his policy towards future numbers of re-entrant qualified teachers, with appropriate retraining, in relation to the problems of teacher shortages identified by his Department; what actions he has taken in pursuit of this policy in recent years, and at what cost; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Butcher
My right hon. Friend recognises the great importance of encouraging former teachers to re-enter the profession. My Department's memorandum to the Education Science and Arts Committee—a copy of which is in the library—indicates the importance of re-entrants as a source of supply and highlights good recruitment practice to attract returners. In recent years the proportion of teaching posts filled by former serving teachers has risen steadily to about 50 per cent. This proportion has been achieved without the widespread use of special measures by local authorities who, as employers, have responsibility for the employment and re-training of re-entrants. With proper publicity for employment opportunities, good employment practices and support and training measures the proportion of posts filled by re-entrants can remain substantial. The costs of re-training are eligible for support through the LEA training grants scheme.