Universities and colleges are rushing to restructure their four-year bachelor of education degrees, as the introduction of salaries for postgraduate trainees hits applications.
Figures out last week showed that applications for postgraduate teacher training have risen by nearly 50 per cent since the government announced in March that salaries of Pounds 6,000 would be paid to postgraduate trainees starting in September.
Applications for secondary BEd courses, however, have fallen by 12.8 per cent. Overall applications to BEd courses have dropped by 4.6 per cent.
Eileen Baker, principal of Bishop Grosseteste College, said: "We hope to restructure our provision so students benefit from the trainee salaries."
The specialist teacher training college has submitted plans to the Teacher Training Agency to change its four-year undergraduate course in primary education to a three-year course followed by a one-year primary postgraduate certificate in education.
University College Chichester is also developing a three-year primary BEd to replace its four-year course in September 2001. Clive Behagg, deputy director (academic) at the college, said: "We believe that most applicants who wish to qualify to teach in primary schools will opt for the three-year specialist course."
Tricia Meers, assistant director of the school of education at Liverpool John Moores University, said: "We still run four-year undergraduate courses for some areas of secondary education, such as physical education, and for primary education because we believe these are effective ways to teach and to best cover the curriculum. Our preference is to keep these courses, but we are keeping the situation under review and are ready to change."
Sandra Burslem, vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University and the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, representative on the board of the General Teaching Council, said: "I can envisage a move nationally as students clearly would want to minimise their financial outlay."
She said that the university had appointed a new head of education and that one of her first tasks would be to look at course structure.
A spokesman for the Teacher Training Agency said: "Providers need to remember that the trainee salaries for primary PGCEs are being being piloted for one year. Salaries for secondary PGCEs are here to stay."