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Plan now to avoid job crisis

Wales needs to plan ahead now to avoid future shortages of teachers as its ageing school workforce nears retirement, Welsh Assembly members were told this week.

There is no recruitment and retention "crisis", according to the General Teaching Council for Wales. In fact, the country is training too many primary teachers.

But more than a third of existing staff are aged 50 or over, few men are training for the primary sector, and there are continuing shortages of Welsh-medium teachers, its chief executive and chairman told the Welsh Assembly's education and lifelong learning committee.

Gary Brace, the GTCW's chief executive, said: "We should take advantage of the current strong position of the profession in Wales and prepare for the future.

"With 35 per cent of teachers over the age of 50, we need to prepare now to maintain a balanced age-profile in teaching, while at the same time not sacrificing the huge benefits of experience."

John Andrews, GTCW chairman, said: "In Wales, we will have 62,000 fewer pupils in just 12 years time. Currently, we have an over supply of primary teachers, shortages in some secondary subjects and very few males entering the profession. We also have to ensure sufficient numbers of trained Welsh-medium and Welsh second-language teachers.

"Those issues require a creative approach and the Assembly must ensure that initial teacher-education and training-entry targets better meet Welsh needs."

Last month (TES Cymru, June 18), the Haines report on teacher training recommended a full-scale review of the sector. Jane Davidson, education and lifelong learning minister, has promised a Daugherty-style review.

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