There is already an alternative route into teaching other than the one year PGCE that Mr Cleary refers to (Letters 27 September). It is called the Graduate Teacher Programme and is a school-based system which can be done full time over three school terms or part time in up to seven terms. The trainee works within the school and earns a salary while training to teach their elected subject.
This programme attracts mainly mature entrants with relevant degrees who are either changing careers or who, for whatever reason, are unable to follow a full time PGCE.
The teaching profession has its own way of training potential teachers and I fail to see why these should be any more 'inappropriate for mature engineers' than they would be for mature entrants from any other profession. As a parent I would hope that any supply teacher covering my children's classes would be as well trained as their regular teacher not only in the subject matter but also in modern teaching methods.
As an Institution we have enough debate over the relevance of our own standards of training and qualification (see Debate 27 September), without criticising those of another profession.
Jane Mulvihill (M), 122 Addington Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5PX