THE Government needs to look sharp and start looking after Britain's teachers.

So says the National Union of Teachers, which is concerned that the Government is now tapping into overseas resources because it has been too slow to sort things out over here.

Martin Fisher, the Lancashire officer for the NUT said: "Until just a few weeks ago the Government was telling us there wasn't a problem and everything was OK.

"Now, just days before the new term starts, they suddenly announce that there might be a shortage.

"There's no two ways about it. There is a problem and, for the Government, getting foreign teachers is a quick solution.

"The Government needs to tackle why teachers are leaving the profession and bucking that trend."

A report by Mike Tomlinson, the chief inspector of schools, blamed low wages for the fact that teachers, who are highly qualified, are leaving the profession is search of more highly paid jobs.

Mr Fisher added: "Another thing to remember is that we don't want to end up poaching so many teachers that other countries start having problems with staff.

"That is a real issue in South Africa. We need to look at home for the solution." Senior Lib Dem MP Don Foster, who represents Bath, is also opposed to the idea: "Three years ago, working holidaymakers could be thrown out of the UK for pursuing a teaching career full-time," he said.

"Now the education service is dependent upon them.

"Concern about the numbers of agency staff working in the health service is widespread, but there should be rather more concern about the extent to which temporary staff are working in our schools.

"Many are highly effective teachers, but they return home when their visas can no longer be extended."

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