Teacher trainers lose out in Wales

Three Welsh higher education colleges are significant losers in funding allocations for next year announced by the funding council this week.

The University of Wales College of Medicine, Bangor Normal College and Trinity College Carmarthen have lost nearly Pounds 100,000 between them, despite a safety net of more than Pounds 135,000.

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales said the losses at Bangor and Trinity College were largely due to the Government's decision to reduce the number of primary initial teacher training places.

The funding reduction for the College of Medicine, which will lose the safety-netting it has had over the past two years, reflected its research rating and performance under the HEFCW funding formula.

A funding council spokesman said the reductions were likely to cause difficulties for the colleges affected.

While the funding council had built in a 3 per cent increase in full-time undergraduate places in science, engineering and mathematics, institutions with low numbers in these areas and large numbers in teacher training were bound to be badly hit.

But he pointed out that the safety net of more than Pounds 91,000 for Trinity and more than Pounds 44,600 for Bangor had reduced the loss from around 2 per cent to 0.8 per cent. Institutions would also be able to bid for a share of a Pounds 500,000 restructuring fund to help retrain staff.

Bryan Roberts, deputy principal of Trinity College, said the college would have to take a fresh look at its plans for voluntary retirement of teacher training staff in the light of the cuts.

"We had hoped that the funding council would take similar measures to those taken in England to soften the blow for institutions with significant teacher training provision," he said.

Overall the council will be funding just under 53,000 full-time places, and allocations will be up 1.81 per cent on 1994/95. Part-time numbers have been increased by 3 per cent, and franchised places at further education colleges will rise by 6 per cent.

The council is allocating Pounds 39.66 million for research, with just over Pounds 2.8 million invested in an initiative to improve the quality of research in Wales.

Sir Idris Pearce, chairman of the council, said: "The Government's policy of consolidation of student numbers and the continuing need to seek efficiency gains means that the council has little room for manoeuvre in distributing funds to institutions."

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