Teacher move sees training spots face axe

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TEACHER training courses at Sheffield University are facing the axe – with more than two-thirds of student places set to disappear next summer.

The number of places for postgraduates will plummet from 108 to just 31, with the training course for English teachers set to close altogether.

Education Secretary Michael Gove believes current teacher training programmes are too focused on academic studies and wants to shift the emphasis away from universities and into the classroom through a programme called Schools Direct.

An online petition calling on the cuts in Sheffield to be reversed has been signed by almost 700 people.

Many are teachers who studied at the university and say the courses were vital in the development of their careers.

Teacher David Sheppard, a recent graduate of the English training course, said: “When we heard the course might close, so many of my fellow Sheffield University graduates were incredibly upset and disappointed.”

“The course is the best possible start for long and fulfilling careers in the profession. The petition shows how much support there is for this wonderful course and we hope that a solution can be found to protect it for future generations of trainees.”

Abdi Suleiman, Sheffield University Students’ Union president, called on the university to work with schools to save the training places.

A university spokesman said: “It is important to preserve vital areas of this provision, so our talented graduates can continue to make an outstanding contribution to teaching in this country.”