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Negative forces repel scientists;Letter

HAVING read "Cash lures just six physicists to teaching" (TES, May 7), I would like to convey what I have been through to get on to my science postgraduate certificate in education course.

I graduated with a physics degree in 1993 and spent more than four years as an inspector in the Royal Hong Kong police force.

During the latter part of 1997, I discovered that the United Kingdom had a shortage of science teachers, especially physics specialists. So I resigned from the force to pursue a career as a physics teacher.

Unfortunately, after the confirmation of my place on a PGCE course, Dudley, my local education authority, chose to apply the three-year "ordinary residence" rule, to avoid paying my tuition fees.

After a year of wrangling it is still reluctant to assist, choosing to ignore my previous 24 years of residence in the UK. So I am currently both a British citizen, and an overseas student.

None the less, I chose to pay my own fees and I am now one of only three physics specialists in a class of 22 science trainee teachers. But, thanks to Dudley, I am the only person who is required to pay their own fees.

This kind of bureaucracy is a good example of how education authorities have chosen to save money instead of addressing the current teacher shortage, contrary to government directives.

I am due to complete my course next month and may now consider teaching abroad as a result of Dudley's decision.

Michael Lee Halesowen, West Midlands

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