Rigid formula misses potential

19th September 1997 at 01:00
The Teacher Training Agency's insistence on an upper second degree for entrants to the profession (TES, September 5) will dispose of far more potentially good teachers than poor ones.

I chose my profession before getting a third in my maths degree, and my poor understanding of Galois theory has not stopped me successfully teaching A-level further maths. Rather, I feel my difficulty in understanding helps me empathise with students' difficulties, and this is harder for someone who has never really "failed". The fact that I was recommended points for excellence and that I am now an acting head of department show a good honours degree is not necessary for professional competence. Oxford University's department of education had the common sense to recognise my potential rather than follow a rigid formula.

It is ironic that it was the TTA's "Teaching as a Career" scheme in 1990 that turned me on to teaching - a scheme which was cancelled the following year. I am sure that many of my colleagues feel that the TTA is being unfair in its new guidelines, and also despise the Pounds 2,000 drop in salary for third-class degrees despite equal professional training and commitment to the job.


The Vicarage Causeway Horsham West Sussex

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