'You never piss off your customers'

2nd June 2006 at 01:00
Like many PGCE students with experience of other careers, Nigel Sinclair has a business-like approach to teaching.

Mr Sinclair, 49, a student at Reading university, said he had been shocked by the unprofessional attitude of some of his tutors during the industrial action.

Mr Sinclair, a marketing manager for 18 years, said: "In marketing you never piss off your customers. One of the key aspects of the PGCE has been its emphasis on professionalism. It makes a mockery to see the lecturers saying one thing, yet doing another."

Mr Sinclair said the students' final three assignments, the most important of the 10 they had completed, had not been graded.

He is due to start work as a newly qualified teacher of information technology at a Berkshire secondary school in September.

"The job offer depends on me getting qualified teacher status," Mr Sinclair said. "If I don't get it, technically I do not have a job.

"We have been told there will be no delay in awarding us QTS, but of course there will."

In a reply to Mr Sinclair posted on the student section of Reading university's website, PGCE secondary course director Andy Kemp said: "I have spoken to some headteachers about what might happen if we are unable to furnish the Department for Education and Skills with a list recommending trainees for QTS.

"I am told that they would expect to honour the contract made with you, though it may be that they would wait until they receive confirmation of your QTS before paying the full salary, then backdate your pay accordingly."

A spokesperson for Reading university said: "We are doing everything we can to minimise the effects of the industrial action on our students.

"Our overriding concern is that academic standards are not compromised in any way."

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