Letter: We get teachers we deserve

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The Independent Online
Sir: I trained as a primary school teacher between 1974 and 1977. One did not require A-levels and we did not train for a degree but rather a Certificate of Education - ie a teacher training certificate. I gained entry to teacher training college in 1974 with only 4 O-levels and 1 CSE.

This did not preclude me from training as a primary teacher because it used to be recognised that high A-level grades and a degree did not give a person the qualities to teach four and five year olds these basic skills. Since then as a mature student I have gained both a first and second degree which must indicate that I have, and must always have had, the academic ability to do so. There has always been snobbery in further education circles and Mike Bossingham's letter reflects this snobbery against non- degree further education courses.

Probably the most important skills one could teach primary school children are literacy and numeracy and the reality is that good teachers and high grades are not necessarily related especially when teaching basic skills. Being able to teach others is not the same as being able to regurgitate facts to pass A-levels or gain other paper qualifications but relies on patience and a range of approaches and interpersonal skills which cannot be tested by A-level examining bodies.


London W7