A NEW fast-track teaching course is targeting as few as 20 new recruits, documents show.

An official tender for the pilot also stipulates it has to be “handed over” to the Scottish Government in 2020 along with any intellectual property rights.

The move casts doubt over whether controversial English-based training organisation Teach First would want to bid.

Teach First have been widely tipped for the contract and have held meetings with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

Herald View: Attainment gap measures welcome but not enough

However, a relatively modest short-term contract with no guarantee of future delivery may not be so appealing.

The documents, which show the cost will be between £150,000 and £250,000, also makes no mention of the importance of filling vacancies in rural areas and key subjects such as the sciences with some 700 vacancies this summer.

Instead it states that the provider is expected to deploy students to areas of high deprivation - despite the fact schools in disadvantaged areas do not have a problem recruiting staff in Scotland.

“The provider is expected to recruit a cohort of between 20 and 50 students," it says.

“We have allocated between £150,000 to £250,000 for the development costs of this project excluding VAT.”

The Scottish Government said it would consider “any innovative incentivisation” that could assist recruitment, while ruling out paying unqualified staff a salary.

The tender stipulates that the successful bidder cannot offer a simple re-working of existing Scottish models.

Herald View: Attainment gap measures welcome but not enough

The suggestion is controversial because models in England allow “training on the job” which is opposed by teaching unions in Scotland because it puts unqualified teachers in the classroom.

“This route should focus on attracting high-quality graduates and those with degrees considering a career change," the documents add.

“The route should ensure the programme is genuinely new and distinct and not simply a minor re-working or extension of existing Scottish ... programmes.

“The programme must have outstanding and distinctive features setting it apart.”

Herald View: Attainment gap measures welcome but not enough

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said the union would oppose any new route that could damage existing high standards of professionalism.

He said: “We do not support the type of training-on-the-job approach championed in England.”

A spokesman for Teach First said: “We are considering the terms of the tender and will respond in due course.”