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Six-month teacher training initiative gets the thumbs down from union NUT

The main teaching union is opposing a new government initiative to allow people switching to a career in teaching to train to qualify in just six months rather than a year.

The scheme, designed to attract professional talented people from other career paths, will include a ‘short' familiarisation placement within a school, a period at a summer school and a full teaching salary when the placement is complete.

It is hoped the initiative will boost teacher numbers in subjects such as science and maths where there are currently shortages.

Schools minister Jim Knight said: "By cutting the initial teacher training course to six months for the most able candidates, we will make teaching a more attractive choice for experienced people who want to get into the classroom quickly but will need high-quality initial teacher training."

But acting general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Christie Blower said: "This is an ill thought-out scheme that consigns Gordon Brown's vision of a world- class education system to the scrap heap.

"Having knowledge and being able to teach is not the same thing. Teaching is not a profession that can be picked up at the drop of a hat. To bring in an entry route that does not provide a good grounding in theory will not only undermine the status of the profession but will also jeopardise the education of our children and young people."

The announcement comes only two months after the prime minister said teachers moving to schools in deprived areas would be eligible to receive ‘golden handcuffs' of £10,000.

A new scheme to accelerate teachers on track to be head teachers has also been announced. It means 200 outstanding teachers across the UK will be fast-tracked into leadership positions within four years.