On-the-job training a 'PR stunt';Letter

12th June 1998 at 01:00
My RECENT experience has convinced me that the Graduate and Registered Teacher Programme is little more than a public relations stunt.

I am approaching 40 and want a career change into teaching. I have a wife, two children and mortgage, so the thought of "on-the-job training" has obvious financial advantage over taking time out of paid employment to go to university and do a PGCE. It would take many years of teaching before I was on a matching salary to my current one, but my family and I are prepared to accept this.

This is a summary of responses to nearly 50 applications:

* Two-thirds of the people named in advertisements as the ones to contact had never heard of the programme.

* Even after making further enquiries, one in five still could not find out anything about it.

* I have been told five times that applications for graduates would be accepted, only to get a letter back saying that they would not.

* Only one in five schools has bothered to write back and say "thanks but no thanks".

The Teacher Training Agency 's website includes a section for advertisements from schools prepared to accept applications under the programme. I have yet to see one advertisement.

I am prepared to accept that I may not have the mix of qualifications which appeals to a school. However, I cannot believe that the Government is serious about attracting older more experienced people into the profession if this is the way that things (don't) work.

Paul Burrett

8 Greenriggs Wigmore Luton

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