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The first cut is the deepest

This is the second year running that many students training to be teachers have been placed in an impossible position, with delayed or failed attempts to find school placements (pages one and three). The TES Scotland has rarely been so inundated with protests from students on a single issue. It is not as though this situation could not have been foreseen. An unfortunate combination of Scottish Executive policies, each positive in itself, has worked to the students' disadvantage: the increase in teacher numbers to meet cuts in class size and other commitments, along with the guaranteed induction year for probationers, has imposed strains on the system.

Ministers may want schools to do their bit, but the main training duty they face is to take in newly qualified teachers for a year. Where schools have good relations with teacher education institutions, they take part willingly. But others will have to be persuaded and the latest financial inducement will help.

Plans are already under way to make training more local, in Highland and Dumfries and Galloway, for instance, so more schools outside the central belt should be enabled to take their quota. It will be regrettable if the negative experiences probationers used to face after they qualified are replaced by unhappy experiences before they are qualified.

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