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PGCE does not prepare students

HOW refreshing to read Jennifer Salt's letter commending undergraduate teaching courses and identifying the value they hold (TES, March 7).

We are currently in our final year of a four-year teacher-training course at Exeter University. The course has been thorough, covering all national curriculum subjects, a range of classroom practices and pedagogy.

In addition, we have also had, cumulatively, nearly a whole year in school, learning from experienced teachers. We could not imagine entering school as an NQT after a quick-fire introduction to the basics of teaching during a one-year PGCE course. It is daunting enough after four years!

This is a view held by all undergraduates on our course who feel very undervalued by the rewards offered to PGCE students, who in common lectures have shocked us at how unprepared they appear to be.

It was even more worrying that they had only had four weeks' teaching practice, a quarter of what they will have in total.

We understand that this is not generic to all PGCE students and admire those who do make valuable contributions to the education profession when they finish. However, undergraduates deserve recognition and the occasional word of praise and financial support would be gratefully received!

Katie Gambold and Kate Barrett

Exeter University

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