I READ with interest Brian Gates's letter (TES, October 18). At the University of Warwick we wrote in January to the Secretary of State about our concerns over confusion in the funding of RE trainees.
RE is identified by the Teacher Training Agency as a shortage subject - trainees may apply for means-tested funding. Although the TTA website and literature do not now refer to "shortage subjects", the TTA does fund a Secondary Shortage Subject Scheme (SSSS). But this list is quite independent from the Department for Education and Skills' list of shortage subjects for trainees who receive the golden hello after induction and now the repayment of student loans. The lists are very similar in all respects except the following: RE trainees are eligible for SSSS but not for post-qualification incentives; English trainees are not eligible for SSSS but are eligible for post-qualification incentives.
Since both lists will be seen as lists of shortage subjects, there are grounds for confusion, dissatisfaction, and potential loss of RE trainees. It is hard to see why the DfES and TTA could not produce one list together.
PGCE information officer
University of Warwick
Institute of Education, Coventry