Stop right there: the learning limbo land

4th March 2011 at 00:00

Given the recent correspondence in The TES about the changes and cuts to PGCE places, I wanted to share my own experience ("These reckless PGCE cuts have left students in limbo - and college-based training in crisis", 18 February).

I submitted my application via the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR) for the social science PGCE course at Leicester University on 27 September last year, just a few weeks after the GTTR application system opened. I was invited to interview and offered a place on the course, conditional on funding from the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA).

I was then told that the decision on funding would be announced by the TDA at the end of January. A week after this deadline passed, I was informed by the university that the allocation had indeed been announced, but that a further period of one to two weeks was required to "verify decisions made" internally. This deadline also passed.

On 23 February, I finally received notification that my offer had in fact been withdrawn, owing to the TDA cutting places for the course at Leicester down to five. I was also notified that the method used to determine which candidates had been offered one of the five places on the course was chronology of application; that is, those candidates who applied first.

With all other social science PGCE courses at my second, third and fourth choice providers fully subscribed, I have been left without alternative routes on to the course. Furthermore, owing to delays in the announcement of TDA funding, my opportunity to apply for the on-the-job graduate teacher programme course has also realistically gone, with most courses ceasing to accept applications at the end of January.

Am I the only one who finds it astonishing that a university faced with a cut in the number of course places would allocate these to the candidates applying first, rather than on the basis of academic achievements, classroom experience or teaching potential?

Simon Cliff, Littleover, Derby.

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