A student-led campaign to overturn the Government's refusal to pay pound;6,000 training salaries to all student teachers, has received the backing of a teachers' union.
Elizabeth Kinsey, 22, tackled schools standards minister Estelle Morris on the issue when she visited Warwick University to talk to students. Miss Kinsey, from Bodmin, Cornwall, has collected 378 signatures from fellow students and sent copies to local MPs, as well as Ms Morris and opposition spokeswoman Theresa May.
"At the end of this year, both the BA (QTS) and PGCE students at Warwick will have graduated having done four years at university. But one lot will have training salaries and be supported while we won't have been recognised for our commitment. "We are disgruntled that we are not being recognised. It's just unjust," said Miss Kinsey, who already has a job lined up at a London primary. Copies of the petition form have been sent to al 160 training institutions. Miss Kinsey's union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, has backed her campaign.
Felicity Bunker, national treasurer and Coventry branch secretary, said students should tackle local parliamentary candiates, given the impending general election.
"People in government argue that the training salaries are a lure to get people into teaching. I can understand that, but it does seem unfair when undergraduate students are doing the same length of training and show more commitment earlier on to teaching," she said.
The Government has said it will reconsider whether final-year undergraduate students should also receive the training salaries and have their tuition fees waived.
ATL agreed at its conference last week to continue to press education ministers to ensure final-year undergraduate students get the salaries as well as their postgraduate colleagues.