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Academics `missing the point'

The letter on school-centred training from Cambridge academics (TES, September 1) leaves out some important differences between today's school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) and the pre-war variety which they have been researching.

The modern scheme is exclusively for graduates who will already have spent three years in higher education learning their subject, and must be in line with the Secretary of State's criteria setting out the competences that all trainees must have in order to be awarded qualified teacher status. The academics also ignore the fact that virtually all the SCITT groups reported on have worked closely with higher education, had training delivered by higher education and offered postgraduate certificates in education validated by universities; and that the Office for Standards in Education report was about the scheme's first year.

As OFSTED had not previously looked at the first year of new higher-education- based schemes it is impossible to make fair comparisons at this stage between SCITT and HE. It is disappointing that the academics should miss these points - let us hope it does not reflect a lack of objectivity.

ANTHEA MILLETT Chief executive Teacher Training Agency

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