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Mature market

John Howson raises a number of serious issues concerning the future supply of teachers, particularly in London schools.

However, I am puzzled by the quote: "We should ask ourselves why we are training so many 35-year-olds in the North-east when many vacancies are in the South." Such a statement may lead the reader to believe that teachers trained in the North-east are not getting jobs, and this is simply untrue. The University of Sunderland Higher Education Statistical Agency data is as yet incomplete for 1995. However, in 1994 88 per cent of primary students and 92 per cent of secondary students gained employment.

Sunderland is the largest quality provider of initial teacher education in the North-east region. A significantly high percentage of our students are mature.

Our employment data would lead us to believe that there is a high demand for newly qualified mature teachers here. It would however appear that the reason we are training so many teachers in the North-east is because there are student teachers here and the schools need them.

Y C STEWART-SMITH Director School of Education University of Sunderland

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