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History jam

I was sorry to read of undergraduate Matthew Gibson's predicament over the withdrawal of his history PGCE place (TES, Letters, February 24). The Teacher Training Agency could not accept Warwick's bid for an allocation of student places for a proposed history course because the national student intake targets set by the Secretary of State allowed for no growth in history.

We notified Warwick of this in January 1995 in line with the traditional timetable for such decisions.

It was not the only institution whose bid we had to decline - in other secondary subjects where the bids for places exceeded the number we could allocate, we took account of Office for Standards in Education evidence about the quality of training at the institution. This is the first time that funding has reflected quality in this way.

Universities and colleges are aware that bidding for new places is no guarantee of success and they usually make this clear to prospective students. Though it may be of little comfort to Matthew Gibson, I intend that, as part of a wider consultation on future allocation arrangements, we should look at whether we can bring the bidding timetable forward.

ANTHEA MILLETT Chief executive Teacher Training Agency Sanctuary Buildings London SW1.

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