Postgrad teacher training places boosted in Scotland

Funding to increase teacher training places at Scottish universities by more than 8 per cent has been announced by the Holyrood government

January 2, 2015

The investment of more than £2 million should provide 250 additional postgraduate places across eight universities in 2015-16, the fourth year of expansion.

This is in contrast to the situation in England, where the number of places allocated by the National College for Teaching and Leadership to universities for next year has been reduced by nearly 4 per cent.

The Westminster administration has decided to increase the allocation to School Direct, where places are given to schools to employ trainees, instead. Several English universities have closed their teacher training courses in recent years.

Angela Constance, the Scottish education secretary, said investment in university teacher training had been increased despite a 10 per cent reduction in the Holyrood administration’s budget since May 2010.

“We want our schools to have the right number of teachers with the right skills to ensure our young people continue to benefit from Scotland’s world-class education system,” said Ms Constance. “Our priority is to maintain teacher numbers in line with pupil intake.”

Ms Constance added that she would work with universities in the coming year to “address issues” around attracting student teachers in subjects such as maths, physics and languages.

The £2 million investment was confirmed by the government in an advisory letter to the Scottish Funding Council, which will announce formal targets for teacher training providers early this year.

The government said its support should see the total student teacher university intake in Scotland increase to around 3,230.

Of these, 1,170 would be postgraduate primary places, up 150 on this year, and 1,165 would be postgraduate secondary places, up 100.

The number of undergraduate teacher training places would remain unchanged at 710 and 185 for primary and secondary levels respectively.

School Direct does not operate in Scotland and the General Teaching Council for Scotland is yet to decide whether it should be accepted as an acceptable route for registration as a teacher north of the border.

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

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