Unfair comparison

May 16, 1997

LSU was not treated unfairly or uniquely. The Teacher Training Agency's withdrawal of accreditation procedures are clear and simple - and open to public scrutiny. All the procedures were followed to the letter and that is not in doubt by anyone, including LSU's governing body (which chose not to lodge an appeal against our decision).

Neither were the facts in the case in dispute - not even by LSU itself. The college failed in seven key areas and was found, by repeated Ofsted visits, not to be complying with the Secretary of State's criteria for initial teacher training.

The decision to withdraw accreditation was not, as implied in your leader, either politically motivated or resources-led. It was based on the fact that trainees were not receiving the quality provision to which they were entitled. An HEQC report also found, in December last year, serious weaknesses in quality assurance at LSU. The mounting evidence left the TTA with no choice other than to withdraw accreditation.

After its initial Ofsted inspection, the college was given a year to comply with the secretary of state's criteria. The college was perfectly clear this was the requirement they had to meet; the three years to which LSU staff refer was the period identified in their action plan as the time needed to provide high-quality training. Unfortunately, LSU was not able to make the basic improvements necessary to comply within the year.

The TTA would have failed in its duty to raise standards if it allowed this situation to continue. It would not have been fair to trainees; nor to the schools which recruit from LSU's intake; and certainly not to the pupils of those schools.

The TTA does not need to stretch its agency muscle, as stated in your leader. We have a responsibility for quality in teacher training and will not shirk that, even when decisions are difficult or unpopular.

Anthea Millett

Chief executive, TTA

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