The government should earmark an extra Pounds 150 million to pay student teachers on top of the Pounds 5 billion investment to expand higher education and maintain quality.
That is the argument of the Standing Conference of Principals' submission to the spending review for three years from 2001.
SCOP and the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals identified five investment needs, totalling Pounds 5 billion. Core funding per student must be sustained, they argued, with extra funds to pay for an expansion of student numbers, infrastructure improvements and the modernisation of academic pay structures and working conditions.
SCOP asked for an extra Pounds 150 million to pay graduate teacher trainees and students in the final year of a BEd Pounds 5,000 a year. "This seems a small price to pay to attract more of the high-quality entrants we need to sustain and develop the profession," said Patricia Ambrose, SCOP chief executive. A third of all teacher education takes place in colleges.
SCOP called for 50 per cent of the extra students to be allocated to higher education colleges.
It argued that 70 per cent of such college graduates got jobs or went on to further study in 1996-97 compared with an average of 62 per cent in higher education as a whole. Three years after graduation, the employment rate of HE colleges was 97.5 per cent.
Colleges have a strong track record in widening access, the submission added. Colleges did well in the "efficiency" performance indicator published last month.
"We think future economic performance is linked to the emerging creative industries. Colleges have a high proportion of the creative arts students who graduate," Ms Ambrose added.