Universities cannot redress gender or ethnic imbalances among trainee teachers because they have too little choice about whom to take, a top educationist claims.
Tables compiled by Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson, at the Centre for Education and Employment Research, University of Liverpool, show that in 1998, 86 per cent of primary trainee teachers were female. In 2001, this rose to 87 per cent. Figures for secondary teaching showed 57 per cent of entrants were female in 1998, but 62 per cent in 2001.
In primary teaching, the proportion of ethnic minorities rose from 5 to 6 per cent between 1998 and 2001, while the secondary figures moved from 7 to 8 per cent.
Professor Smithers said initial teacher-training institutions had a wide spread of entry qualifications, indicating some were struggling to fill places and were willing to take anyone who fulfilled minimum requirements.