Red tape stalled our Canadian dream

14th August 2009 at 01:00

As a fully-registered member of the General Teaching Council for Scotland for 13 years (qualified to teach maths and physics), and in the process of relocating with my family to Canada, imagine my surprise when my wife (registered with GTCS for 10 years) had her application for registration to teach in British Columbia rejected.

Her PGCE in history and modern studies was deemed inadequate, and she has been asked to complete additional coursework to comply with the requirements for teacher education in the province. My application for BC certification is still in process and, in my view, will most likely be rejected on the same grounds.

It is absurd that someone with 10 years' experience teaching in Scotland, who is regularly cited as an exponent of excellent practice, is made to feel as if she, and her Scottish education that is generally regarded as one of the best in the world, is not good enough to teach in a particular province of another country.

I realise that any province or country can make its own rules, but it would have been better for all concerned if this had been made clear at the outset, rather than expecting people to pay upwards of Pounds 150 to be told "no thanks". We have been given no guidance on the exact courses that will qualify, and those we choose have to be approved by the British Columbia College of Teachers.

My wife's new school is firmly behind her in her quest for registration, as is the Ministry of Education in British Columbia. The GTCS has made representations on our case to the BCCT, but they have not made any headway as yet.

My wife and I resigned our permanent positions in Scotland after she was offered a position teaching history and social studies at an independent school in Duncan, BC. Hopefully, our experience will raise awareness and act as a warning about the restrictive practices still prevailing in other countries.

Roddy Craig, Boydfield Avenue, Prestwick.

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