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Step-up course for new blood

CLASSROOM assistants, auxiliaries and nursery nurses are to be encouraged to take up careers in primary teaching under a part-time training scheme to be launched next September at Strathclyde University.

Four councils - North and South Lanarkshire, Glasgow and Stirling - have joined the university in a bid to bring in new blood by alternative routes. It could herald a number of recruitment innovations across the country.

Graham White, course director, said all 20 students would be expected to have normal entry qualifications for the postgraduate course that usually runs over nine months. The new part-time course would last 21 months, allowing for evenig, weekend and summer holiday work.

The five-week teaching block will be extended to 20 days part-time and one week full-time. Students' sponsoring authorities will have to find cover for the days they are on placement.

Mr White believes this is the first course of its kind in Britain and a response to the Executive's plea on wider access and lifelong learning. "Clearly we are looking for somebody who has more life experience than somebody coming straight from university," he said.

Ivor Sutherland, registrar of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, said:

"We welcome anything that widens access. The main thing is the quality."

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