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Death knell for the four-year degree

Malcolm Lewis, PGCE course director at the University of Bristol and chair of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers secondary initial teacher education committee, said: "It's been very slow recruiting into virtually all subjects this year. We expect to reach the targets in some, but not in all of our secondary PGCE subjects.

"We are very pleased by the announcement and, as I have been urging for some years that training salaries should be paid to PGCE students."

Kathy Hodgkinson, dean of education at Liverpool Hope University College, said:

"It is something that providers have wanted for years. But it will mean the death of four-year BEd courses. I think that the announcement that the primary pilot will be for one year only could have a de-stabilising effect on recruitment on the PGCE primary courses for next year, 2001, because that recruitment cycle begins September 2000."

Brian Woolnough, lecturer in science education at Oxford University's department of educational studies, said: "I am sure the money will help but it will not solve theproblem. It is a move in the right direction, but without being nit-picking it isn't very much. Police and nurses get considerably more and I suspect it won't make anything like the difference we think, unlike the programme for subsidised housing which is a much more positive move."

Graham Butt, head of secondary PGCE courses at University of Birmingham, said:

"It's the pay structure that makes teaching an unattractive career choice for good graduates. The profession is going to need some fairly radical reshaping to change that and a one-year bonus of money is not going make it look any more attractive."

Barry Hobbs, co-ordinator of alternative routes into teaching at Bradford University, welcomed the training grant, but added: "If it is the Government's intention to do away with the four-year undergraduate course then they need to be explicit about that instead of doing it through the back door. I think they need to make it clear if they want primary teachers to have a subject degree instead of a general teacher training education."

Opinion, 19

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