Thousands of young teachers may struggle to find jobs in primary schools this year because of a lack of vacancies, it has emerged.
An analysis of last week's classified advertisements in The TES shows only 18 out of 515 pages of jobs were devoted to basic-scale primary staff - similar to the number for individual subject areas in secondary schools.
The lack of jobs has been blamed on falling pupil rolls and the consequent lack of funding going into schools.
Employment expert Professor John Howson said: "Fewer jobs are being advertised because schools have lost money due to falling rolls. So it is almost entirely as a result of funding pressures."
Last year, the Education Secretary Charles Clarke decided to allow primary teacher numbers to fall because of declining rolls.
He was warned then by Professor Howson, who is visiting professor at Oxford Brookes university and director of Education Data Surveys, that this could store up recruitment problems for the future.
An anticipated 15,000 primary teachers will retire between 2002 and 2007, leaving jobs for all the teachers, Professor Howson said.
In the past year 1,000 extra primary trainees have been taking postgraduate qualifications in education. It is now feared that many of these will be unable to find jobs and may never work as teachers. This would also discourage others from considering primary teaching as a career.
Professor Howson said that primary vacancies had dropped to 790 in January this year from 2,100 at the same time in 2003.
Last week's classified section also shows that 27 of the 515 pages of adverts were devoted to schools looking for primary heads. Many were re-advertisements because schools failed to find suitable candidates first time round.
But there were also rich pickings for young secondary teachers seeking jobs in the core subjects.
Overall, 19 pages contained ads for English teachers, 17 for science and 16 for mathematics staff.
Senior teachers, assistant heads and deputy heads in secondary schools were also in demand, with a total of 26 pages given over to these jobs.