HC Deb 18 May 2004 vol 421 c918W
Clive Efford

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to assist(a) recruitment and (b) retention of staff in further education colleges. [173896]

Alan Johnson

Further education colleges are independent corporations which set their own pay and recruitment arrangements. However, we are increasing the total funding for FE by £1.2 billion between 2002–03 and 2005–06 (19 per cent. in real terms) and increasing flexibility in the use of this money. This will give colleges more scope to meet local recruitment and retention needs.

We also support colleges through the following specific recruitment and retention initiatives: In designated shortage subject areas: Golden Hellos (one-off payments) to new teachers (1,961 individuals benefited to date) and Repayment of Teacher Loans over 10 years (233 benefited to date). A pilot Training Bursary Scheme of £6,000 is in place to attract new staff into the profession (6,655 benefited to date and 2,000 allocated for 2004–05). The newly launched Key Worker Living programme provides eligible FE teachers with equity loans to help with high housing costs in London, the South East, and Eastern regions. Through the new Centre for Excellence in Leadership, the Leadership Development Framework, and the Work Shadowing Scheme, development opportunities are being extended, to ensure that talented staff are able to advance their careers.