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Shortfall fears despite pound;12m training boost

The quality of teacher training will improve following a pound;12 million boost for courses, the Teacher Training Agency said this week. Funding will increase by 5 per cent in September, to pound;246 million.

Latest figures show that that 41,000 people started teacher training this year, the highest number since 1975.

But teacher-training colleges claim that the Government is still failing to meet full costs. A study by JM Consulting last year for the Department for Education and Skills found that there is a pound;1,000 shortfall per trainee in universities.

On average teaching courses are underfunded by up to 20 per cent. At 12 of the 15 higher education institutions studied costs were much higher than funding.

The TTA said this week that record amounts are being put into England's 134 college, university and school-based courses. It added that the cash allocated for September, including funding for 35,000 trainees on mainstream university courses and 6,500 school-based places, represented an increase of 19 per cent since 2002.

Jeremy Coninx, the TTA's acting director of funding, said: "This is the fifth successive year in which the TTA has been able to give above-inflation rises. These additional resources help providers to maintain and to improve the quality of teacher training."

James Rogers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, said: "We welcome any increase, but there is still a long way to go towards addressing the 20 per cent shortfall identified by the DfES study."

It is feared many universities will levy the full pound;3,000 top-up fee for teacher training when the new funding arrangements are introduced.

The DfES has not yet said whether it will meet the full costs or pass charges on to trainees.

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