Admission figures fall in teaching

February 6, 1998

PRIMARY teacher training courses have experienced a more than 15 per cent fall in applications, the latest figures show.

Similar falls in the number of applicants for degrees or diplomas in social work and some engineering courses are also expected when the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service publishes its analysis of applications next week.

While applications to take primary teacher training courses at university show a 15.4 per cent drop, with falls in all subjects except information technology, physical education and religious education, the number of people wanting to take postgraduate certificate in education courses is also down 7.4 per cent. This includes a 4.7 per cent fall in numbers for primary school teaching and 10.8 per cent for secondary school.

Speaking at a conference last week to discuss latest inititiatives for attracting schoolteachers, UCAS chief executive Tony Higgins blamed the fall in applications on a thriving economy.

"When the economy is doing well, there is a fall in the number of people wanting to go into teacher training because graduates are in greater demand from elsewhere," he said.

But Mary Russell, secretary of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, said the threat of tuition fees had not helped. "The PGCE will have a fee waiver but the BEd will not, which is obviously going to count against the undergraduate route."

Andrew Skidmore, registrar of the Central Council for the Education and Training of Social Workers, said he was concerned at a fall of about 15 per cent in the numbers applying for social work.

Applications for courses in some areas of engineering and technology are also expected to show falls of between 10 and 15 per cent.

Teacher training, page 7

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