In September 2000 I embarked on a Certificate of Education at Huddersfield University alongside 21 other students studying for a PGCE. I am one of only 12 who are receiving no payment whatsoever for training to be a teacher.
Since September, I have been buying The TES and - unless I have missed it - I have seen no articles whatsoever describing the situation of students like myself. Similarly, neither have the two main teaching unions,who have been touting for my business, even so much as mentioned Cert Ed students and the discrimination (for that is what it is), that we have been suffering at the hands of this government.
The only difference in the work we do, as Cert Ed students, as opposed to PGCE students, comes in the wording of the last main assignment (ie, synthesises own values as opposed to appraises own values) and a reflective report of 3,000 words. This means the PGCE students receive pound;2 per word for that report. I, and other Cert Ed students, are more than capable of knowing the difference between synthesising and appraising our own values and of writing a reflective report.
However, the discrimination is at a level far deeper than money, for each of us Cert Ed students is highly qualified in our own field - and dare I say it - we have previously been working, studying and paying our taxes, and have had nothing in the way of help from the government.