THE Scottish Higher Education Funding Council has intervened for the third year running to protect teacher training at Paisley University.
SHEFC chief executive John Sizer said that Paisley would be allocated 38 students for its secondary postgraduate certificate of education if the historic method of allocating intakes was applied.
The council has therefore decided to expand the 800 intake for Scotland that Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth set for the 1997/98 postgraduate course to allow Paisley to maintain its intake at 50 without affecting recruitment elsewhere.
Most Paisley students are taking Scottish Office priority subjects, such as computing, English, mathematics, modern languages, music, physics, religious education and technological education.
Teacher training numbers will fall sharply in the coming session, with the Scottish Office continuing to slash primary course intakes.
Bachelor of education primary course numbers will drop from 700 to 600 and primary postgraduate certificate course from 250 to 210 next session All the institutions offering primary courses - Paisley and Strathclyde Universities, St Andrew's and the Northern Colleges of Education, and Moray House Institute of Education - will suffer intake cuts. But the financial impact will not be clear until SHEFC announces its funding allocations in mid-March.
There has been an upsurge, however, in combined degrees in education, where students train to be teachers but also study a subject discipline. Until this session, Stirling University was the only institution offering a combined degree, but Robert Gordon and Strathclyde universities and St Andrew's College of Education have started.
Mr Forsyth has expanded the intake to combined degree courses from 175 to 200, but SHEFC has planned for the same intakes as this session's level because recruitment has not stabilised.