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EDITIONS
Saturday, 8 December, 2001, 01:02 GMT
Funding boost for trainee teachers
Eastern European teacher in London
Many schools have been recruiting abroad
There are to be places for an extra 1,900 trainee teachers in universities and colleges across England next year - but only 400 of them for secondary school specialists.


We are determined to continue building on this success and help our schools recruit and retain the teachers they need

Schools minister, Stephen Timms
The School Standards Minister, Stephen Timms, said that next year there would be more training places available than there had been for a decade - a total of 31,790, or 6% more than this year.

Almost 29,000 people started post-graduate courses this year - the second annual rise after eight years of decline.

But the government failed to meet its target for secondary school teacher trainees by 8%. And a recent academic study indicated that of every 100 final-year trainee teachers, 58 did not go into the classroom or left within three years.

An expert on teacher recruitment has said that the government will still struggle to reach its promise of an extra 10,000 teachers by the next general election.

Technology focus

The increased targets allow for 1,500 more primary school teachers and 400 more secondary school teachers.


Whichever way you cut it, it's bad news for secondary schools

Recruitment expert John Howson
The bulk of the secondary increase is for technology teachers - 250 - with 40 more in science and 50 in history.

In geography, there is a cut in places from 1,175 to 1,100.

In making his announcement on Friday, Mr Timms said teaching was becoming increasingly attractive, with training bursaries and 'golden hellos' for students who chose subjects like mathematics where there was a shortage.

He said: "Thanks to our investment in our teachers and schools, we now have the highest number of people starting teacher training courses since 1994.

"We are determined to continue building on this success and help our schools recruit and retain the teachers they need to sustain and improve standards."

More teenagers

Recruitment monitor John Howson, of Education Data Surveys, welcomed the increase in the number of primary school training places, but said the decision to increase secondary targets for 2002/03 by only 400 places was "bizarre".

"Pupil numbers in secondary schools are rising until 2004, even if the government don't increase staying-on rates after the age of 16 - and they will have to if they are to meet their target of more young people going to university," he said.

"And that will mean more teachers.

"It means they have no policy of getting more graduates into secondary schools."

He said that even the limited new secondary targets would prove challenging to meet in some subjects and would do little to remove past shortfalls in recruitment in subject areas such as maths and languages.

Teachers' conditions

"On these targets the government may be under pressure to reach its election pledge of 10,000 extra teachers by the time of the next election."

The Liberal Democrat education spokesman, Phil Willis MP, said he had long been calling for an increase in the number of training places.

But he added: "Unless targets are accompanied by a radical improvement in pay, conditions of service, and workload for teachers, it will simply be a case of in one door and out another.

"The Education Bill was the ideal platform to bring in Scottish-style contracts and demonstrate the government was serious about recruitment and retention, rather than just weekend headlines."

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The BBC's Christine Stewart
"1,900 extra training places will be available"
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