§ Mr. Maples
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many students entered initial teacher training in 1985: and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir Keith Joseph
About 16,700 students entered initial teacher training courses in 1985—the same number as in 1984, and rather more than in 1983. It is clear that many people still perceive teaching to be an attractive and rewarding career, despite the current dispute. Recruitment exceeded targets for primary training courses and was satisfactory for most secondary subjects.
It is disappointing that there have once more been difficulties in achieving the recruitment targets in those secondary subjects where there has always been strong competition from other employers for the skills of a relatively small group of suitably-qualified people. In these subject areas we need to encourage more people to consider time spent in teacher training as a worthwhile alternative to immediate salaried employment. That is why, after consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, I am today launching a bursary scheme which will pay £1,200 a year tax free in addition to the normal grant to students entering one or two year initial training courses in mathematics, physics or CDT.