'Getting trained is hard enough as it is'

18th March 2005 at 00:00
Graham Lobb had to save for almost a decade to train as a teacher.

The married father-of-two is halfway through a primary PGCE at Derby university and believes top-up fees will be a huge hurdle for those coming after him.

Mr Lobb, 33, worked for an internet bank when he left university in 1995, but has always wanted to teach.

"We've been saving for the past nine years to enable me to go into teaching," he said. "It's been amazing, and I haven't regretted it one bit.

The course is great and the children are so keen to learn."

Like most trainees, he gets a pound;6,000 annual training bursary, and his fees are paid. Derby has yet to decide whether it will introduce top-up fees, but he said any prospect of paying extra fees could have ruined his dream.

Mr Lobb, who lives in a village just outside Derby, said: "It would have made a huge difference.

"When you start teaching at this stage in life it is hard enough as it is - to have to pay tuition fees would certainly have put me off for another few years. Then I'd have to wonder whether I was too old to start training. I'm still paying off a pound;4,000 student loan. Think about students who are leaving now with debts of pound;20,000. It will have a massive effect on them."

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