TEACHERS in Bradford will be offered targeted support at the early stages of their career to prevent them leaving the profession, a committee has been told.

Three years ago, Bradford Council ringfenced £660,000 to help tackle teacher recruitment and retention and help with the shortage of teachers many of the district's schools were experiencing.

That funding runs out this summer, and at the latest meeting of the Council's Children's Services Scrutiny Committee, members heard of the work that has been done so far.

Sara Rawnsley, the authority's teacher recruitment and retention officer, and Dr George Madine a human resource management expert who has looked at the best way of keeping local teachers in the profession, spoke at the meeting.

Mrs Rawnsley has organised numerous recruitment drives, including bus tours around Bradford's schools, that have led to more new teachers applying for local jobs.

The meeting also heard about Dr Madine's research into why teachers leave the profession, and how to stop the exodus. He said a survey had been sent to every teacher in Bradford, with over 1,400 responses, and more teachers were then interviewed., and Mr Madine spent two months working with the department for Education on the system, eventually getting a clean bill of health for his methodology.

Dr Madine said: "Sara's job is to get them in, my job is to keep them there. I wanted to know why people leave teaching.

"I wanted to look at what is happening nationally and what is happening in Bradford.

"We found that 20 per cent of people who train to be a teacher never end up in the state system. If they do start teaching, 13 per cent leave by the end of the first year. By year three, 26 per cent will have gone. By the end of year five 35 per cent of all starters will have left.

"We need to look at why people stop teaching. The work we do can identify people who are very likely to drop out. We really need to stop training people who we know are going to drop out.

"For the rest of the people, we can identify what issues they are likely to face, and in what year. "

"We can then plan for each individual teacher, what issues they will face and what support they'll need, and they will help us to retain the teachers we have in the system now. We can give them mentoring and highly specific support.

"We've already started surveying next year's trainees."

He said it took £23,000 to train a teacher, so retaining as many trainees as possible was important.

When asked if the Council will discourage people from training, Mr Madine replied: "There is a certain amount of people who won't be able to handle teaching.

"Even if they continue teaching, if they struggle with the job they will be a more expensive employee, taking more time off.

"The Department for Education tends to look at teachers in terms of figures, but what we really need are people with social and emotional intelligence."

The committee noted the work of the teacher recruitment service, and called for the council to look at ways it can continue it after funding ends in August. One suggestion was that the council offer it as a traded service, with other local authorities paying for the expertise used in Bradford.