I admit to being surprised when the Government announced an increase in the number of places for primary teachers intending to start their training in September 2004. Many of the new places are for the expansion of early years' provision and paid for from Sure Start funds. I had expected any need for extra teachers in the early years' sector to be accommodated by a reallocation of existing places rather than the recruitment of additional trainees. However, some of the trainees will be on undergraduate courses and will not be qualified before 2007, when rising retirement rates may be higher. Nevertheless, with around 3,000 more primary trainees than four years ago, and fewer pupils in schools, it remains my view that jobs in parts of the country will be more difficult to find than in the past, a view supported by comments on The TES staffroom website (www.tes.co.uk).
Generous funding for the workload agreement might alter my thinking, if the introduction of non-contact time in primary schools results in the creation of more posts for "qualified" teachers as opposed to teaching assistants.