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Hundreds left in training limbo

Several hundred students studying to become teachers through "concurrent" degree courses will have to wait eight months after they finish their courses before joining the one-year probationary training year.

Ministers and local authorities were under pressure to agree a second entry point, but have stuck with the one starting date in August, despite complaints from students and universities that the extended delay may threaten their commitment to teaching. Schools cited practical difficulties.

Students studying through concurrent degrees, such as those at Stirling University, finish in December and are therefore left in a training limbo. They have been told they can apply for supply posts in the new year before they join the induction year lottery. Like others graduating six months later, they have to submit applications to train in up to five local authorities and take their chances in the draw.

Kay Barnett, convener of the General Teaching Council for Scotland's probation committee, told a full council meeting last week of members'

concerns. She further highlighted the induction year's heavy toll on schools and teachers' workload.

Mrs Barnett also revealed there would be no four-week extension for students who, by June, failed to complete their initial teacher education at university. They would now have to wait until August the following year before they took up an induction year post.

As compensation, they would be eligible to take up supply work and could eventually choose to continue on the probationary supply route to achieve the Standard for Full Registration. Mrs Barnett emphasised the need for alternative probationary routes.

Others said too many barriers in the way of students could threaten supply when half the profession would retire in the next ten years.

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