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This MA fiasco

The MA in teaching and learning is the latest fiasco masquerading as an educational initiative ("Funding delays raise doubts over masters degree for NQTs", March 13). While I sympathise with the plight of the universities offering the courses in terms of funding and timescales, I fear the point has been missed - the effect of this new qualification on overburdened NQTs.

With 32 years' experience in the teaching profession, I have tutored and mentored my fair share of NQTs. As a group, they are in general, eager, willing and desperately keen to make their mark. The first year is inevitably tough, with long hours, unrelenting pressure and often illness in the holidays. Advice is often along the lines of "take a night off", rather than work harder. So where will they find the time and energy to study for this qualification - and while teaching in the most challenging schools?

No one would deny the importance of continuing professional development, but surely the masters would be more appropriate in the third year of teaching as an incentive to remain in the profession? Sadly, that is when young staff often start looking for new horizons.

Yvonne Fleming, National officer for school leadership, Association of Managers in Education, Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

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