The Training and Development Agency (TDA) today announced it has commissioned the development of the UK's first online teacher training programme.

Called iTeach, the course is designed to combat the shortage of maths, physics and chemistry specialist teachers and enable flexible study while the potential teachers work in schools or other settings as they prepare for a career change or extension.

iTeach is being launched in response to the Government's science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) initiative which aims to address looming skills gaps in these sectors and create future generations of scientists and engineers to ensure the UK's place in the increasingly competitive global economy.

Two institutions will deliver iTeach, one of which is a specialist teacher education provider, Canterbury Christ Church University, and will work in partnership with the largest provider of primary teacher education in Ireland, Hibernia College, which specialises in online learning programmes.

The 18-month programme will train student teachers in each of the maths, physics and chemistry secondary school curriculum areas and will include 14 weeks on school placement.

Dr Sean Rowland, Hibernia College executive chair said: "Our model of blended initial teacher education, combined with Canterbury Christ Church University's OFSTED Category 'A' provision, offers an innovative solution to England's shortage of maths and science secondary schools teachers."

Applications are now being accepted. For further information is available via Hibernia College’s website.