July 22, 2008
Class Struggle: 195 New Teachers Can’t Find Jobs in Wales
By TOM BODDEN
ALMOST 200 newly-qualified teachers failed to find their first job in the classroom in Wales last year.Some 195 teaching graduateswho studied at Welsh higher education colleges were still out of work within six months of graduating, while another 395 found jobs either overseas or elsewhere in Britain.
Meanwhile, there remained a shortage of teachers in subjects such as maths, science and languages. Teaching union the NUT Cymru said some graduates were struggling to complete the mandatory induction year in the classroom and there was a danger they became lost to the profession.
David Evans, secretary of the union in Wales, said: "It's important =we make sure young people enrolling on courses do see some light at the end of the tunnel.
"They have to complete their induction year within the five years of completing their course and it can be difficult at times when the best they can do is some supply work."
Mr Evans said the new foundation curriculum for primary schools required a much lower teacher-pupils ratio at 1:8 for three-five year olds and 1:15 for fiveseven year olds and this should be regarded as an opportunity to employ additional teaching staff.
"Also there is a golden opportunity to reduce class sizes. Rather than talking about surplus places in schools based on class sizes of no more than 30, we should be aspiring to lower class sizes further," he said.
Education minister Jane Hutt revealed the destination of trainees six months after graduation in response to a series of questions by the Conservatives in the Assembly.
Shadow education minister AndrewDavies feared that young teaching talent was being lost to Wales.
The South Wales Central AM called on the Labour-Plaid Assembly Government to adopt a targeted approach to training teachers in areas of shortage such as maths, science and languages is vital for the Welsh economy.
Latest figures also revealed a continuing decline in teacher vacancy rates across nursery, primary and secondary schools last year.
Mr Davies said: "It's all very well the Assembly Government trumpeting the fact it has increased the number of teachers in training.
"That fact is worthless if students are unable to find work in teaching after graduation.
"Young talent and vital resources are beingwasted by the government's failure to match supply and demand.
"Jane Hutt's in-tray of problems keeps on piling up and to date people can have little confidence in her ability to resolve matters."
A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said: "Far from increasing the numbers on initial teaching training courses, the Welsh Assembly Government has been reducing them since 2004/05.
"We are also developing a planning model to try to better align ITT with the needs of maintained schools in Wales.
"It is perhaps surprising that the Conservatives are unaware that there are already incentives for teacher training in priority areas such as maths, science and modern languages, given that there have been high profile campaigns to encourage take-up in those subject areas."
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