An incomplete picture

September 3, 2009

Having just taken over as head of the School of Teaching, Health and Care at Bradford College, I was alarmed to read in your article "Call to raise entry criteria for trainee teachers" (20 August) that the percentage of our undergraduate teacher trainees accepted with two A levels was only 1.4 per cent. That anyone of Alan Smithers' apparent standing in the research fraternity would not have questioned the validity of the figures and contacted the college to verify the data before publishing it in his Good Teacher Training Guide 2009 is a surprise.

While the data are correct with respect to our Teacher Development Agency profiles, the college did not provide this particular information. I have undertaken paper analysis that shows that over the past three years the percentage of entries with two A levels to our undergraduate courses has been 44 per cent (2005-06), 59 per cent (2007-08) and 56 per cent (2008-09).

I accept that the report uses only data from publicly available profiles. However, by not questioning the information's validity, the publication does potential harm to Bradford, which like many other colleges has dedicated staff who work very hard, offering significant support to students and gaining very good results as confirmed by external-examiner reports.

Bradford is proud of its reputation as a promoter of widening participation. As an example of its achievements in this area, it had per cent and 52 per cent recruitment of minority-ethnic students in primary and secondary initial teacher trainees against national averages of 9 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

Clive Opie, Assistant director, Head of School of Teaching, Health and Care, Bradford College.

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