Speaking at the Association of Grant Maintained and Aided Schools Conference in London, Mr Forth said: 'I am delighted to announce that we have today issued for consultation proposals for the graduate teacher programme. We hope that graduates will soon be able to follow this new on-the-job training path into the teaching profession.
'Quality and diversity are central to the government's plans for teacher training. The graduate teacher programme will help ensure that good candidates are able to pursue a route into teaching which meets their individual needs.
'The Teacher Training Agency has helped us to design, and will in due course run, the programme for graduates who prefer to couple their training with employment as teachers in a school. It will be open to candidates of any age with a degree or equivalent qualification, and of course the necessary personal qualities. Training will be tailored to the needs of the individual trainee, and most candidates will complete their training within a year.
'Quality will be assured through the Teacher Training Agency, who will ensure that training plans are fit for purpose, and that final assessment is rigorous and subject to outside scrutiny.'
Mr Forth said that the government would be consulting widely with interested parties over the next two months, with the aim of introducing the programme from April 1997.