While the further reduction in applicants for teaching posts and initial teacher-training courses is indeed cause for concern, the implication that there are no longer highly motivated and able graduates applying for teaching posts is mistaken.
Care must be taken not to reduce morale further by presuming that because some posts are difficult to fill, the eventual appointee is less than the required standard and that all trainee teachers are ineffective.
I am responsible for the school-based training of PGCE students in science during their block practice at my school and I have been repeatedly impressed by their dedication and ability. It was sad that one very able teacher found it difficult to find his first post due to an unconventional background in the fishing industry. Perhaps selection panels have become too inflexible to recognise unusual circumstances.
The Teacher Training Agency should also reconsider its expectation of a 2:1 degree. Until we have parity between both degree subjects and awarding institutions such a requirement is untenable.
PGCE co-tutor Bishop Stopford School 107 Hawthorn Road Kettering Northamptonshire