Snobbery in attacking undergraduate teacher training

6th March 2009 at 00:00

Your editorial ("B.Ed has had its day", February 27) contained the misconceptions, prejudices and ignorance that continue to blight the reputation of an excellent qualification which makes an important contribution to the diversity of routes to qualified teacher status.

The rational argument for the retention of the undergraduate route deserves more support than The TES editor's rehash of academic snobbery and out-of-date information.

The entry qualifications for the undergraduate programmes are often better than those for many degree courses across the country.

In addition, candidates for the undergraduate route in primary education must demonstrate their knowledge of educational "hot issues" and have experience of the demands of the modern classroom before they are accepted.

Yes, teaching is a practical pursuit, but it is not an unthinking profession. The days of hours of undigested educational philosophy in such courses are long gone and teachers need instead to have a good understanding of the underpinning principles of the disciplines they teach across the primary curriculum.

As Ofsted will testify, undergraduate programmes produce some pretty impressive teachers. These graduates stay in the profession, many becoming the heads.

Young people who know from an early age that they have a real desire to teach want to study primary education as their chosen undergraduate discipline. Why take away that choice? And why write so scornfully of the qualification that brought so many excellent teachers into today's classrooms? I don't see too many people calling for an end to undergraduate medicine or law degrees.

Pamela Taylor, Principal, Newman University College, Birmingham.

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