Crisis? What crisis?
Three years ago, I applied through the Graduate Teacher Training Registry to do a PGCE course. Despite supposed teacher shortages locally, I was not even offered an interview by Sheffield Hallam University. It was so oversubscribed that it did not consider people with less than a 2.1 degree. I completed an ordinary BA degree on the understanding that this was adequate to gain entry to post-graduate courses. The GTTR then sent my application on to Bretton Hall College, which offered me a place on its PGCE course starting in September 1999. However, in the spring of 1999 I was told that, due to a cut in target numbers, Bretton Hall was no longer running the course. Following this disappointment, I decided to gain further school experience while waiting to re-apply for a PGCE and yet two years later, with the recruitment crisis allegedly worsening, I am having the same problems.
Admissions departments around the country tell me that with an ordinary degree I have little chance of being offered a place. During my time as a teaching assistant over the past two years, I have been responsible for the planning, delivery and assessment of literacy to children with learning difficulties. I planned and taught a 10-week course of booster classes to Year 6 children last year, ran a recorder group at lunchtimes and was invited to become a school governor. I have also attended many specialist courses. Yet I am apparently not "worth" being trained as a teacher. Surely degree classification bears little if any correlation to aptitude for teaching?
Claire Williams 81 Abbey View Road, Sheffield