Good (PGDE) teachers are always learning

9th January 2009 at 00:00

I am studying at Edinburgh University for a PGDE primary qualification and was upset by the letter from a primary teacher in your December 5 issue. Its criticisms of initial teacher education for PGDE students seemed a rather unfair portrayal.

Competition to enter my course was fierce, and the interview process rigorous. We then embarked on a demanding course - lectures and workshop classes every day from 9am-5pm, long reading lists, essays to write and presentations to make.

We have four placements - two weeks in nursery, and three in infant, middle and upper primary which each last five weeks. The course, therefore, gives us a full range of experience across the stages of primary education. I have completed two. By the end of my nursery placement, I was asked to take the teacher's place and ran the nursery and its staff for two days. At the end of this, I was responsible for a P1 class for two days.

On my third placement, I will be expected to teach either a P4 or P5 class for a week. On my final placement, I will be teaching P6-7 for four weeks.

In addition, we are "embracing the capacities and principles of A Curriculum for Excellence" but also being made aware that the 5-14 curriculum is still ongoing.

Your correspondent appears to be disregarding other factors such as my MA Honours degree gained at St Andrews University, which required four years of hard work and study. I am also fully aware of how much I still have to learn. A good teacher is always learning.

Mairi Bagnall, Trinity Road, Edinburgh.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today