The number of students training to be teachers is set to fall again next session, reaffirming the trend of the past six years.
Raymond Robertson, the Education Minister, announced on Tuesday that 2, 050 entrants will join primary and secondary courses in the 1997-98 session, a fall of 125 over the current year.
The number of teachers training for the secondary sector will remain at 800. The largest fall is in the primary BEd four-year courses where 100 fewer students will be taken on. But perhaps more significantly, the number of students in training overall has fallen by more than 700 since 1991, admittedly a peak year.
Mr Robertson said next year's intakes were the result of full consultations with education authorities, teacher education institutions, unions and the General Teaching Council. "We are aware that some newly qualified teachers are facing difficulty finding jobs," he said.
Frank Adams, director of teacher education at Moray House Institute in Edinburgh, accepted that the reduction was a reflection of current difficulties but warned of stagnation in the teaching force if the restrictions continued.