Why I'm Following in Dad's Footsteps; ECHO Education Reporter CLAIRE STOKER Finds the Man Promoting a New Scheme to Attract Mature Students to Teaching Has Won over His Own Son

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MIKE POPE'S job recruiting and retaining Liverpool teachers is an unenviable one. But Mike is a good ambassador for the teaching world. So good that he's persuaded his son to join the profession.

Mike, Liverpool council's teacher recruitment strategy manager, works on a wide range of schemes aimed at making sure the city has enough teachers to educate our children. His son, Terry, 24, starts today on the government's new graduate teacher programme at Holly Lodge girls School. The scheme offers a minimum salary of pounds 13,000 to train, which can be topped up if the school feels it appropriate.

Seconded from his job as a teacher at St John Almond, Mike,52, knows what life is like at the week reveal a third of teachers plan to leave the profession in the next five years and, while many areas of the country claim they don't have enough teachers, officials still claim Liverpool doesn't have a problem. Mike, from Mossley Hill, explains: ``Liverpool hasn't suffered with recruitment problems and one of the reasons is we have a high number of students on our doorstep with at least three higher education institutions in the area.'' However, large numbers of teachers are rapidly approaching retirement and Liverpool will face the same problems as everywhere else. ``On top of that, we have the underlying trends in terms of recruiting in shortage subjects, like science and maths, a lack of male primary school teachers and we are aware we need to recruit more black and ethnic minority teachers.'' One of the ways of tackling the problem is the scheme, launched today, aimed at recruiting people aged 24 and over from other industries. Mike's son Terry, who teaches for the first time today, is one of the first batch of 32 recruits who will go straight into the school classroom. Mike says: ``We are partner members of the consortium that runs this programme, along with neighbouring LEAs, Liverpool Hope University and Liverpool John Moores University and it leads to qualified teacher status.'' Terry has left his job as bar supervisor at the Philharmonic pub to begin training.

He says: ``My mum Barbara is a teacher as well, so it runs in the family. I always wanted to teach, but I wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't for this new scheme.'' Terry graduated from Chester College with a degree in English literature and history plus debts of pounds 13,000. Because of his financial situation, he went straight into work rather than studying for a postgraduate certificate of education. …