Page last updated at 00:40 GMT, Monday, 28 December 2009

Teacher cutbacks 'short-sighted'

Children in class
The EIS says cuts in teacher training are bad news

Scotland's largest teaching union has attacked "short-sighted" cuts in teacher training numbers.

The EIS predicted a third of Scotland's teachers were set to retire in the next few years.

It added that cutting back on training new teachers could create "a massive problem" in the future.

A Scottish government spokesman said it was working towards getting the right number of teachers for future generations of pupils.

Four out of five teachers who qualified this summer have not found full-time jobs.

The government has said it had cut the number of training places in response to that, falling school rolls and education authorities cutting the number of posts in schools by almost 2,500.

Reducing student numbers will create more jobs for those teachers already qualified
Scottish government spokesman

But it said there was no point in educating teachers for the dole queue and it planned to build up student numbers in future.

The union said schools may struggle to fill vacancies and training institutions may struggle to produce more new teachers because of job losses among those who teach the teachers.

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said cuts in the number of new teachers being trained was bad news for Scottish education, both at school and university level.

"These cuts are hitting the budgets of teacher education departments in universities, and forcing them to reduce their numbers of lecturing staff," he said.

"Cutting back on the number of trainee teachers and the number of university education lecturers is remarkably short-sighted, and runs the risk of creating a massive problem in a few years' time.

'Stimulating demand'

"The Scottish Government has adopted the easy answer to the problem of lack of job opportunities for new teachers by slashing the future student intakes.

"But their focus should be on stimulating demand for new teachers, not cutting the supply."

A Scottish government spokesman said: "We took the difficult decision to reduce student teacher intakes to deal with teacher unemployment.

"Reducing student numbers will create more jobs for those teachers already qualified.

"Furthermore, ministers have also asked Graham Donaldson to conduct a thorough review of teacher education in Scotland, from initial teacher education through induction and continuous professional development."

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