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Battle for in-service money

Universities have condemned Government proposals on how in-service training money should be spent. They fear that the Teacher Training Agency is planning to siphon off money for teachers' postgraduate courses to pay for its own programme of new qualifications, writes Josephine Gardiner.

This, say the universities, is further evidence of Government attempts to decouple the teaching profession from higher education. They say it endangers academic freedom by increasing central control over what teachers learn. And it would lead to job losses in universities and reduce the choice of courses available to teachers.

The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) is urging its members to take "the strongest possible stand on this issue". The deadline for responding to the proposals is next Friday.

The Teacher Training Agency has taken over 47 per cent of academic INSET funds from the Higher Education Funding Council with effect from next academic year. The agency wants to make the money available to providers outside higher education by creating a bidding system, and to establish tighter criteria for courses.

Professor Christopher Day, of UCET, called the proposals "madness", saying universities will no longer be able to create courses in response to local needs identified by teachers.

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