Upstairs, downstairs

18th October 1996 at 01:00
How dare you describe the BEd as a "basement door" into teaching (TES, September 20)? I have just completed a four-year BEd (Hons) at Sheffield Hallam University. I had poor A-level results, but my subject leader believes that potential and commitment are more important than grades. I proved him right, and gained an upper second.

As a secondary science student, I have been given an education which allows me to teach all three sciences to A-level. I also studied child development, cross-curricular themes, how to set up industrial links and educational visits, and how to use information technology in the classroom.

I was taught a variety of methods for dealing with bullying, common illnesses, physical and mental disabilities. The need to ensure equality of opportunity was at the heart of all classroom-based tasks, and I was given good advice, based on research, on how to do this. These issues were not covered in an odd lecture or tutorial, but were assessed units of work each lasting around 12 weeks.

The flurry of complaints about newly qualified teachers' many inadequacies shows that good teachers are not merely the product of good A-levels and a good degree. Good teacher training is the most important issue here, and thankfully some courses are still run by thoughtful and professional people not rampant "A-level-gold-standard-ists" like yourself. If the BEd is the "basement" - well, you can keep your ivory tower.

LUCY C TOMAN

Crookes, Sheffield

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