Unfair judgment on OU course

23rd October 1998 at 01:00
As a primary postgraduate certificate in education student with the Open University I am surprised at the recent report from the Office for Standards in Education (TES, October 16). I have found the OU PGCE to be an extremely rigorous course - demanding and very comprehensive in its scope.

To judge the validity of the course on a 2.6 per cent sample of the weakest students is hardly fair, especially considering that the OU did not pass most of them. Did OFSTED see any of the successful "higher pass" category students? I am impressed by the calibre of my colleagues on the course, and for many distance learning was the only option because our location and family responsibilities ruled out other teacher-training institutions.

There has been a strong focus on numeracy and literacy in our course this year, and I hope when we apply for jobs we will not be judged on suspect OFSTED findings based on an unrepresentative sample of students in a year when the course was fundamentally altered half-way through by new regulations for Qualified Teacher Status. I hope, rather, that our partner schools will be able to vouch for the quality of our practical teaching.

Heidi England 1 Killycomain Road Portadown, Craigavon Co Armagh

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