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Is that a fact...?

The first year of the training grants has helped to boost recruitment to teacher training courses. This autumn, according to the Teacher Training Agency's annual census, more than 28,000 students started teacher training courses in England. More than 13,000 of these were on courses training to be primary school teachers. The figures show that next summer there will be almost 1,000 more primary teachers qualifying than did this year.

The increase in the number of secondary trainees compared to last year is 650, which is about 5 per cent. Indeed, at just over 14,500, the total of new trainees is the highest for many years. Particularly impressive has been the increase in the number of trainees in languages and technology. These subject areas account for about 50 per cent of the additional students.

More disappointing is the lower numer of maths and English trainees: figures are seemingly down by about 20 students in each subject. The maths target was increased from last year, but trainees filled only 69 per cent of the places, down from 77 per cent achieved last year. About 90 per cent of the English target has been met.

Even more disappointing is the fact that, despite the training grants and "golden hellos", the Department for Education and Employment's target number of secondary teacher trainees has been met only in the subjects of history, physical education and art and design. For the first time, technology came close, with trainees filling more than 90 per cent of available places.

Only 304 teacher trainees - little more than 2 per cent of the total - have started on the employment-based graduate training programmes so far this financial year.

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