UCU Scotland dismayed at cuts in student teacher numbers

8 February 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU Scotland criticised the Scottish government for slashing the numbers of new student teachers by over 1,500 (40%) this year. The union said the move would compromise the sustainability of teacher education departments.

The cuts in teacher numbers, announced by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), include a 70% cut in funding for the primary education postgraduate course. The union said the decision to slash the teacher education numbers by over a third was repeating the failings of previous highs and lows in terms of funding. The union argued for sustainable growth to ensure teacher training in the country can continue at sensible levels and meet the needs of Scotland's schools.

The Scottish budget included a £8 million cut in teacher education. Although it is believed that about £2 million will be allocated to institutions to offset the reduction in student numbers, there would still be a shortfall of £6 million.

UCU Scotland President, Lesley McIntosh, said. 'These cuts do absolutely nothing to help Scotland, our schools or our teachers. We have seen massive increases in the teacher education budgets then cut backs on a cyclical basis, which just leads to a ridiculous hire and fire regime. I am astonished we have not learnt from previous failings.

'We need limited and sustainable growth to ensure the required increases in teachers over time. If we carry on as we are at the moment, we will no doubt see an equally sudden and large increase in student teacher numbers in the future.

'The Scottish government has to maintain provision in teacher education departments and, in the longer term, the government and local authorities need to work together to increase the number of qualified teachers in Scotland's schools.'

Full figures are available from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

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