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Teacher training will leave me out of pocket

From Cathryn M Hawkins.

Clare Dean (TES, October 25) writes about the possibility that, some time in the future, teaching staff shortages may lead to graduates having to "train on the job".

Six weeks ago, I began a PGCE (secondary) course. On November 4, I will have begun my first teaching placement, which will last until Christmas. In January, my second placement begins and continues for 17 weeks. I then return to my college for approximately five weeks in order to complete examination processes. Thus, out of a total of 36 weeks, 24 weeks of my training will be spent in schools.

The only difference between this scheme and that envisaged by the Teacher Training Agency and Eric Forth is that I am not being paid. Don't misunderstand. I do not expect to be paid while training. But neither do I expect to be out of pocket. My "training in schools" will, I estimate, cost me Pounds 40 a week in travelling and child-care expenses. My husband's modest income has supported me and our three children through three years of degree study. We now face another year of overdrafts and letters from the bank manager.

The Government wants good-quality graduates. I have a first-class honours degree in English and want to teach. It seems I will have to pay for the privilege and fund myself as I "train on the job".

CATHRYN M HAWKINS 66 Parkview Road, London SE9

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