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Good (PGDE) teachers are always learning

I am studying at Edinburgh University for a PGDE primary qualification and was upset by the letter from a primary teacher in your December 5 issue. Its criticisms of initial teacher education for PGDE students seemed a rather unfair portrayal.

Competition to enter my course was fierce, and the interview process rigorous. We then embarked on a demanding course - lectures and workshop classes every day from 9am-5pm, long reading lists, essays to write and presentations to make.

We have four placements - two weeks in nursery, and three in infant, middle and upper primary which each last five weeks. The course, therefore, gives us a full range of experience across the stages of primary education. I have completed two. By the end of my nursery placement, I was asked to take the teacher's place and ran the nursery and its staff for two days. At the end of this, I was responsible for a P1 class for two days.

On my third placement, I will be expected to teach either a P4 or P5 class for a week. On my final placement, I will be teaching P6-7 for four weeks.

In addition, we are "embracing the capacities and principles of A Curriculum for Excellence" but also being made aware that the 5-14 curriculum is still ongoing.

Your correspondent appears to be disregarding other factors such as my MA Honours degree gained at St Andrews University, which required four years of hard work and study. I am also fully aware of how much I still have to learn. A good teacher is always learning.

Mairi Bagnall, Trinity Road, Edinburgh.

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