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In defence of in-school training

Your report (TES, March 10) on School Centred Initial Teacher Training requires comment.

First, the decision to initiate the Smallpeice technology teacher-training programme was taken in part because of the shortage of good technology teachers able to teach modern manufacturing techniques as opposed to traditional craft skills.

Second, although the programme was only initiated in September 1993, it has already proved to be popular with more than 200 trainees in the first two years. Perhaps more importantly, of the first 37 trainees who entered the programme, all except three successfully completed their course and, of these, all except one have found good teaching posts.

In a recent survey, 80 per cent of headteachers of the schools in which our Smallpeice graduates have found posts rated them as very good or excellent. We will be issuing a similar analysis of the 46 students who graduated in December shortly.

Third, for the purpose of SCITT post-graduate certificate in education awards, the Roehampton Institute awards its own certification and not that of the University of Surrey. Along with all the parties in the programme it maintains vigorous quality assurance procedures. The Roehampton Institute is recognised as excellent by the Office for Standards in Education for the quality of its own secondary PGCE programme. It would not be issuing its certificates to Smallpeice graduates unless it was convinced of their worth.

Fourth, it is most unfortunate that the article seems to have been based on early informal visits by HM Inspectorate which identified certain initial weaknesses. Considerable improvements have been made and discussions have taken place with OFSTED, which reflect this continuing improvement.

We are also pleased to say that the Teacher Training Agency will fund 210 Smallpeice places in 1995-96, which is more than double the present enrolment and has increased the per capita funding for the programme.

SUE KAYSER

Manager Smallpeice Programme CTC Trust 9 Whitehall, London SW1.

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