Loan discretion takes a holiday when low earners need help

Noting that the Government was anxious to increase the numbers of qualified teachers in both maths and English, I took up the offer of a PGCE course with the Open University. This is intended for mature entrants to teaching and the Government arranged to underwrite the loan of up to Pounds 8,000, through the Royal Bank of Scotland, the repayments to commence once the newly qualified teacher entered hisher first appointment.

I have applied for at least 20 jobs in the past six months, none of which has resulted in an offer, and a teaching adviser from the Borough of Croydon has told me that this is a common experience for late entrants as the schools can get newly qualified 23-year-olds much cheaper.

I am at present employed part time as an indexer at Pounds 7 per hour-a subsistence income out of which I cannot possibly service the loan. I have explained this to the Royal Bank of Scotland and to the Department for Education and Employment suggesting they exercise their discretion over the six-month extension of the interest-free holiday. However, they are only prepared to do this if I am totally unemployed.

Do any readers of The TES have any advice for me in these circumstances?

GEORGE CURZON

36 Park Royal Montpelier Road Brighton Sussex

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