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Trainees have to run obstacle race;Letter

YOUR correspondent Malcolm Lewis, the course director of the Post Graduate Certificate in Education at the University of Bristol (TES, October 15), clearly but surprisingly does not understand the problems faced by prospective PGCE students in taking up offered places.

I myself was offered a PGCE place at University of East Anglia a splendid institution. Unfortunately the letter from the Student Loans Company confirming that I had some sort of financial support for the course turned up so late that I was unable to lay down a deposit on a flat so that I could move. The letter arrived nearly four weeks after the course began.

This may not be so serious for younger students, who may well still live at home with their parents in some cases; for us oldsters who live on our own, it is a crippling blow.

I have seen my MP in her surgery about this, and understand that the situation is not likely to improve next year.

Nevertheless, I can assure Mr Lewis that I shall be trying to gain teacher-training again, notwithstanding the absurdity of the Government's system of funding it.

Perhaps, too, Mr Lewis should bear in mind that teacher-training is probably the only job in the country where the pay is minus pound;105 per week. At least if I did Welfare to Work, they would pay me at least pound;52 per week for piling up bricks.

Is it any wonder that faced with an augmented student loan to pay back on one of the lowest salaries in the graduate sector many graduates think twice before taking up a place?

Paul Southwood

29 Tye End



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