Tuition fees 'put teacher training in jeopardy'

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The Independent Online

Proposals to charge postgraduates on teacher training courses the full £3,000-a-year "top-up" tuition fee could deal a serious blow to recruitment, the Conservatives warned the new Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, yesterday.

Proposals to charge postgraduates on teacher training courses the full £3,000-a-year "top-up" tuition fee could deal a serious blow to recruitment, the Conservatives warned the new Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, yesterday.

In a letter to Ms Kelly, Chris Grayling, the Conservatives' education spokesman, wrote: "According to our calculations, the typical debt for a student teacher would rise to almost £30,000, nearly twice the current level." He concludes: "This would be an extraordinarily ill-judged step."

The National Union of Students also raised concerns that students, already deep in debt from their undergraduate studies, will be deterred from going on to the one-year Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course needed to become a teacher.

Earlier, Ms Kelly signalled that she would put the agenda of parents at the heart of her policies for schools. On her first visit to a school since she was promoted in the post-Blunkett reshuffle, Ms Kelly stressed yesterday that her priorities were the same as those of all parents.

During a visit to the Charter School in North Dulwich, south London, she said that she wanted good quality teaching, classroom discipline and improving standards in schools.

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