PGCE spots no-hopers

March 9, 2007

I missed Richard Austen-Baker's "parody of Chris Woodhead" (Letters, February 16), but I did read Chris Wilkins's reply (Letters, February 23).

If Austen-Baker said that "at best, a PGCE can stop someone from being disastrously inept" then he is not far wrong.

I am a teacher who has a PGCE and who is a work-placement PGCE mentor in further education and, in my opinion, PGCE training does not produce good teachers for the simple reason that only classroom experience can do that - over a period, I would say, of between five and ten years.

Good teaching, like good driving, is a skill that takes time to acquire - far more time than the single academic year in which most PGCEs are completed.

The only "plan" for teacher education that works is reflection on practice over many years. The best the PGCE can do is to weed out the no-hopers.

Philip Anthony.
Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College

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