New teachers face unemployment

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The Independent Online

Up to 1,000 newly qualified primary school teachers may be unable to find work in the classroom this autumn, it was disclosed yesterday.

Up to 1,000 newly qualified primary school teachers may be unable to find work in the classroom this autumn, it was disclosed yesterday.

Professor John Howson, one of the country's leading experts on teacher recruitment, predicted that "between 500 and 1,000" primary teachers leaving college in July would be unlikely to find work.

The predicted job shortage is due to a drop in the birth rate, which means there will be 50,000 fewer primary pupils in schools next year, combined with high levels of recruitment for teacher training courses, with 8,760 signing on for one-year PGCE courses last autumn compared with just 7,586 the previous year. In addition, ministers have decided not to use the drop in the birth rate to reduce class sizes but to maintain "stability".

Professor Howson, a director of Education Data Services and a visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University, accused ministers of "bad planning" in increasing the number of primary school trainees at a time of falling admissions.

He added: "If newly-qualified teachers find it impossible to find jobs this year, it will have a knock-on effect and reduce recruitment in 2007-08, when figures show we will have an increase in the numbers reaching retirement age.

A spokesman for the Government's Teacher Training Agency said: "The TTA has been attracting a record number of recruits, but it is too early to say how many will qualify this summer or how many will find jobs."

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