New blow for home economics

The viability of home economics in west of Scotland secondaries has come under added pressure following Strathclyde University's decision to suspend further training of student teachers.

The move will leave Northern College in Aberdeen as the only institution training home economists next session. Six students are expected to begin studies in August.

Jim McCall, dean of Strathclyde's education faculty, said the university was cutting back in line with an overall reduction in student numbers and had taken soundings from councils about subjects in demand.

Professor McCall said: "There has been a marked decline in demand for home economics. It is a subject in the curriculum that is under pressure."

But Eileen Gillan, chairman of the Institute of Home Economists and an adviser in North Lanarkshire, insisted there was a strong case for retaining the subject. The Scottish dietary action group had recommended that councils should employ home economists to work with the pre-fives and in schools.

"They have a vital role to play in promoting healthy eating and in changing behaviour," Ms Gillan said. The subject would be placed in jeopardy in the west of Scotland if Strathclyde permanently scrapped the training of home economists, she warned.

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