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John Simkin

Top-up Fees and Trainee Teachers

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On Thursday the minister for higher education, Kim Howells, announced that trainee teachers will be charged up to £3,000 a year in top-up fees from 2006. Currently the fee for the post-graduate teacher training course is met by the state.

This move will obviously deter graduates from becoming teachers. The government are of course aware of this. In fact, this is part of its overall strategy. Last year 34,000 people entered initial teacher training (the most since 1975). At the same time we have falling student numbers. Without this change in policy there was a danger of a over-supply of teachers.

The problem is that certain subjects will remain short of teachers. Therefore, I fully expect that in these subject areas top-up fees will not be charged. If you are a history student you will pay, if you are a physics student, you won’t.

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