Pets score points rather than kids

January 21, 2000

Students wanting to take veterinary courses need A-level point scores nearly twice as high as those wanting to be teachers, latest statistics show.

Analysis for the Higher Education Statistics Agency of figures submitted for the year 1997-98 shows students of veterinary science needed 28 A-level and 29 Scottish Higher points, compared with 15 and 14 respectively - equivalent to less than two Cs and a D - for those studying education.

The average A-level point score for first degree entrants as a whole was 18.8 points, equivalent to just over three Cs.

Of the students based in the UK who entered bachelor of education courses in 1997-98, 64 per cent held A levels or Highers and nearly 10 per cent entered after completing an access course.

Women studying for a BEd had slightly higher average point scores than men.

Mary Russell, secretary of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, said entry qualifications for student teachers had improved slightly over the past few years and varied considerably between institutions. Many ent-rants were mature students with two good A levels rather than three mediocre ones. But, she added: "It is obviously still not good enough."

One problem is that the application rate for undergraduate courses has dropped, not helped by the fact that most incentives, such as fee waivers, go to students taking postgraduate certificates in education.

While the number of students taking undergraduate degrees in education fell by 10.9 per cent between 1995-96 and 1997-98, the number taking postgraduate certificates in education remained steady.

More than half of these PGCE students held a first-class or upper second-class degree, with English by far the most common subject.

History, mathematics, biology and music were also common, while relatively few had studied modern languages other than French, economics, biochemistry or other biological sciences.

According to the HESA figures, both kinds of students seemed to find it easy to find jobs, with more than 90 per cent entering or re-entering employment after their studies.

Most also entered educationrelated jobs.

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