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Recruitment cuts confirmed

Significant cuts in teacher-training numbers over the next five years have been confirmed by the Assembly government.

Secondary numbers look set to reduce by a quarter to 990, and primary by a half to around 575 by 2010-11. The cuts will not be compensated for by the development of pre-professional degrees leading to a one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education, as proposed by the Assembly government-commissioned Furlong review of teacher-training.

Jane Davidson, minister for education, lifelong learning and skills, told Assembly members this week that "fewer individual providers than at present" will be needed.

There are currently eight teacher-training providers in universities and colleges across Wales. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has been told to come up with a reorganisation plan.

The Furlong review was in part triggered by reports of large numbers of mainly primary newly-qualified teachers failing to complete induction.

Ms Davidson told the Assembly's education committee: "Only recently, we were told by chief inspector Susan Lewis that not enough teachers in Wales were of the highest quality. We don't want groups, such as the over-25s, being put off teaching because they don't think they will get jobs."

Geraint Davies, secretary of teachers' union the NASUWT Cymru, expressed concern at the cuts, but welcomed a ministerial pledge to reconsider introducing a guaranteed induction year for NQTs in two years' time.

The minister also rejected Furlong's proposal that provision should be postgraduate only, saying undergraduate courses are important in recruiting a wide range of people to teaching.

But she is going ahead with a more detailed review of the needs of the Welsh-medium sector, and improving how Welsh schools predict staffing levels.

Welsh voice 22

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