Letters extra : Highly qualified but no Maths

9th March 2001 at 00:00

Shortages of teachers

Is it not absurd that local authorities are having to recruit teachers from abroad when there may be so many potential teachers already in this country? Surely the government should review a recently introduced requirement for entry to post graduate teacher training. I refer to the requirement for Maths GCSE or equivalent regardless of subjects to be taught by the aspiring teacher.

I have O and A levels (though not including maths), a BA, an MA and PhD, the latter all from the University of London. I also have considerable experience of teaching outside the state school sector having taught ESL and EFL to adults, as well as literacy to 16-18 age group.

On the basis of my qualifications and previous exerience I was conditionally accepted last year for a one year PGCE course within the University of London. I was proposing to teach art subjects which have no significant mathematical content even at sixth form level. By virtue of a government ruling I was obliged to take an internal maths test. My failing of this test, which I could not retake for a further year has meant that I have forfeited my teacher training place, thus depriving London schools of a highly qualified and experienced teacher.

I concede that all teachers should possess basic numeracy. But surely I could not have obtained a London BA, MA, PhD, published extensively and previously taught without having such numeracy? Anyway, if the government has justifiable doubts as to the numeracy possessed by potential trainees without the maths qualification, surely the end of year maths test also introduced recently should be sufficient? And could not trainees in my position be offered a remedial maths course during the PGCE year?

Dr S Brooks
96 Mansfield Road
London NW3 2HX

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