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False claims about first IT PGCE

It is to be regretted that Roger Crawford and the editor of Computers Update (TES, March 14) are not better informed about the training of teachers of information technology in England.

The claim that the first teachers to be trained in IT and to expect to qualify for the PGCE started their courses at the beginning of this academic year is simply false.

A glance at recent Graduate Teacher Training Registry and Universities Council for the Education of Teachers handbooks will reveal a number of institutions already training teachers of IT.

My own institution, the school of education at the University of Leeds, has had a Postgraduate Certificate in Education IT course for many years. The IT PGCE course has many strands which reflect the complexity of IT teachers' work in schools. As well as being trained to teach IT and to support teachers' cross-curricular use of IT, our students are required to undertake IT training of other PGCE students (and of school staff if required) during their block teaching practice in our partner schools.

I would, however, support Roger Crawford in drawing headteachers' attention to the fact that specialist IT teachers are available for appointment in schools.

ISOBEL JENKINS Lecturer in information technology School of education The University of Leeds.

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