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Blow for small training schemes

The issues behind the Centre for British Teachers suspending its PGCE scheme are rather more interesting and important than your article ("Company to rethink its training", TES, March 28) suggests.

This firm has been running its distance-learning PGCE for six years.

Because we have tried to be highly responsive to the needs of schools and trainees we have taken on trainees in different schools each year.

The great majority have done well and the great majority of CfBT training received good ratings from inspectors. Liverpool University's Centre for Education and Employment Research ranked our training 40th out of 109 providers.

But there was an inevitable problem ensuring consistency year-on-year in terms of, for example, standards of mentors and we could not guarantee avoiding the occasional problem - your reporter did not mention the most recent problem focused on just one trainee. Only a small proportion of conventional trainees are seen by Ofsted inspectors, while almost all of ours are inspected.

We will hence be working with fewer schools. In many ways this is regrettable, not from a business point of view - CfBT has subsidised this course in every year so far - but because it is another nail in the coffin of small, consumer-responsive initial training courses.

Neil McIntosh

CEO, CfBT, 60 Queens Road

Reading, Berkshire

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