Foundation prospects look shaky

25th April 1997 at 01:00
Richard Daugherty only mentions half the problems with the Teacher Training Agency's plans for Initial Teacher Training (TES, April 11). He forgets the effect on the foundation subjects, such as geography and history. With the expansion of time for English, mathematics and science there will be inevitably less time for the rest. How will the colleges respond?

Access for both the specialist (sic) and the non-specialist students to the foundation subjects will be reduced drastically, the colleges will either cut the number of subjects they teach or will combine two or more subjects to produce hybrid subjects with little relevance to the needs of the national curriculum.

Whatever happens, the large numbers of specialist curriculum co-ordinators will gradually disappear along with the professional support they offerl, and no longer can we be confident that all primary teachers are competent across the curriculum.

Postponing the acquisition of subject knowledge and competencies until "entirely chancy" induction (Chris Woodhead's words in 1992) or in-service training is unrealistic. Whatever happened to the 20-day Grants for Education Support and Training courses? Sadly, this is occurring at a time when OFSTED geography reviews consistently report that "good teaching resulted from teachers who were confident in their geographical knowledge" (OFSTED, 1995).

BILL CHAMBERS Liverpool Hope University College Hope Park, Liverpool

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