Squeeze on capital's teacher training

6th April 2001 at 01:00
PRIMARY teacher-training places have been cut in London despite claims that schools in the capital are struggling to get staff, writes Julie Henry.

The Department for Education and Employment announced earlier this year that the number of PGCE primary places it will fund during 2001-02 would be cut by 600. In London, the 2,304 places that were filled in 2000-01 will be reduced by 75.

Initial teacher-training institutions in the capital claim that this will mean turning away good graduates and make recruitment and retention more difficult. Figures from the head of primary initial teacher education at Goldsmith's College, London, said: "Schools in London are particularly hard hit, while at the same time, well-qualified students are being refused teacher training."

Figures from the National Union o Teachers show that nationally, 11.3 per cent of full-time primary teaching posts were vacant. The regions experiencing most difficulty in filling posts included inner London.

Research by Alistair Ross, of the University of North London, has found that newly-qualified teachers tend to get jobs very close to their training centre.

The DFEE calculates the number of places needed each year on estimates of children numbers, retirements and the effects of government policies.

A spokesman for the Teacher Training Agency said: "The DFEE sets teacher-training targets and decided on a 5 per cent reduction nationally in primary places.

"Even with the reduction, the number of places in the capital has gone up slightly as a proportion of the total number, to 17.8 per cent."

Opinion, 17

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