HC Deb 25 June 1985 vol 81 c759
5. Mr. Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the current number of students entering training for teaching.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Bob Dunn)

The number of entrants to initial teacher training in the academic year 1984–85 was 16,707. Target intakes for the academic year 1985–86 are 17,652.

Mr. Freeman

Does my hon. Friend agree that one consequence of this damaging and prolonged dispute is the reduction in the number and quality of mathematics and science teachers coming into and remaining in the profession, since many have taken early retirement to take up jobs in industry?

Mr. Dunn

We are actively considering whether other intitiatives might be pursued by the Department, in concert with others, to improve the recruitment of teachers in shortage areas. We have recently received advice on this subject from the Advisory Committee on the Supply and Education of Teachers, and the Secretary of State's comments will be made known in due course.

Mr. Freud

Does the Minister accept that there is considerable unease and anxiety among those involved in initial teacher training about the roles of the institutions and the funding available? Is it not time that he made a clear policy statement on this matter?

Mr. Dunn

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the national and Wales advisory bodies have been invited to advise on the allocation of teacher training intakes to institutions in the public sector. The University Grants Committee is considering the distribution of intakes among universities. Its comments, and the response to them, will be made known in due course.