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An insult to mature students

The responses to date from Nicol Stephen, the Deputy Minister for Education, have done nothing to allay the justifiable concerns of mature teaching students, some of whom may lose up to pound;10,000 as a result of the post-McCrone settlement.

Such delaying tactics only add insult to injury. These students chose to train as teachers on the basis of being promised an age-related entry point, and quite understandably many of them are now reconsidering their decision to enter teaching.

Nicol Stephen has previously indicated that there is considerable sympathy for those students who had already started their training before McCrone came into being. Surely, it is not too much to ask the Scottish Executive to honour its commitment to such students and to renegotiate honestly with future student intakes?

Mr Stephen also indicated to me last December that transitional arrangements would be discussed by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers on 31st January at a meeting which had already been postponed from 5th December. Now it seems that this meeting too has been postponed until 28th February, which will mean an even longer delay in resolving the situation.

I am therefore now seeking an urgent meeting with the Deputy Minister. The time for excuses has run out.

Irene McGugan MSP Shadow Depute Minister for Children and Education

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