Strathclyde University is to resume training of home economics teachers in a new partnership that could pave the way for other subjects with low student numbers.
In response to demands by home economists, the Jordanhill campus of the university will take in 15 postgraduate students next session. Frances Gallagher, the lecturer in charge, is Glasgow's home economics adviser and will divide her time between the posts.
The university dropped the subject two years ago because it was too expensive to maintain a full-time post. Since then there have been complaints about a shortage of new teachers and of schools relying on retired staff to fill vacancies. Northern College has taken in extra students because of slack in other subjects, for this session only.
Sheila Hughes, course co-ordinator for postgraduate education at Jordanhill, said the shared arrangement was viable, especially since external funding was also being sought. "This may be the way ahead for other subjects with small numbers of students, physics and Gaelic, for example. By sharing a post we are able to attract a lecturer of high standing in the profession."
Eileen Gillan, chairman of the Institute of Home Economics and an adviser in North Lanarkshire, was "delighted by this significant step". She expected there would be a demand for more than 15 places - and jobs awaiting students.
Ms Gillan said that schools had difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff with up-to-date qualifications. "There are all sorts of patchwork arrangements which break down as supply teachers move from school to school."
The lack of continuity affected pupils preparing for external examinations and those in the early years who suffer because of the large number of subject teachers they encountered.