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This union is pressing for parity

I SYMPATHISE with the point Mike Thain makes about training salaries being offered only to PGCE student teachers (TES, June 2). But he is wrong to think that he is a lone voice.

It is unfortunate that the Government made the decision without considering what effect this would have on those undertaking other routes into teaching. As a result, the executive committee of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers recently proposed to tackle the issue by pressing ministers to give parity to BEd students.

Mr Thain is wrong to think that the unions neglect the needs and rights of their student members. ATL certainly doesn't. That is why talk on the recruitment and retention of teachers are being held between the profession and the Government.

Recently, the ATL raised the issue of the disparity between the training salary offered to PGCE students but not to those on the PGCE (further education) course. The association successfully negotiated a training salary for PGCE (FE) students and this will be piloted from September.

We welcome the views of our student members and as a member of ATL, Mr Thain is right to register his anxieties.

Peter Smith

General secretary

Association of Teachers and Lecturers

7 Northumberland Street

London WC2N

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