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Primary trainees face lack of jobs

The number of people wanting to train to be primary teachers in Wales is up by a fifth, despite a glut of newly-qualified teachers unable to find jobs.

But applications for secondary courses are down 2.5 per cent to 1,688 - even though secondary schools have problems recruiting in subjects such as Welsh, the sciences and foreign languages.

Courses for teaching Welsh or other secondary subjects through Welsh still have vacancies, only weeks before they are due to start.

But as TES Cymru went to press, only two out of 15 postgraduate primary courses in Wales had vacancies, according to the Graduate Teacher Training Registry. Both were Welsh-medium.

All six Welsh secondary courses had vacancies. Of the remaining 61 courses with vacancies, 25 are bilingual or Welsh-medium.

Science, design and technology, maths and IT accounted for 22 of the 61 courses with vacancies, with modern foreign languages making up another 17.

A group led by Professor John Furlong, of Cambridge university, is reviewing teacher-training in Wales, and will report in the autumn.

Wales is producing too many primary teachers and falling pupil numbers could mean further job losses. But unions say all NQTs should be guaranteed a one-year induction job, because they will be needed as rising numbers of senior colleagues start retiring.

Meanwhile, education minister Jane Davidson has already cut primary teacher training numbers by 5 per cent from this September, with a similar cut expected in 2006.

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has redistributed the Pounds 248,904 savings from fewer primary places back to universities, "to ensure the ongoing viability of teacher training provision until the outcomes of the (Furlong) review are known".

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