Letters extra: Stupid to need maths for teaching English

12th April 2001 at 01:00

At last you have raised the issue of the absurdity of the DfEE requiring that candidates for PGCE courses to become English teachers require an O-levelGCSE grade C pass in maths.

Not having this does not mean that I am innumerate. It does not mean that I cannot work out percentages. It simply means that I cannot do trigonometry and equations - topics that are irrelevant to English. There is a good reason for this failing - I was badly taught in an impoverished Catholic secondary school in East London in the late Sixties to mid Seventies.

The ruling means that I am virtually unemployable because it is impossible to get any sort of job outside teaching. If one's work has been teaching, albeit on a part-time, hand-to-mouth basis, then employers do not want to know. They think that once a teacher, even one without a PGCE, always a teacher. This even applies to jobs for the examination agencies AQA and EdExcel, despite my having been an assistant examiner for the past three years for the English A-level paper B.

Robert E Murrray
Wanstead, London E11

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