In January 2005, government ministers confirmed, as reported in the Guardian, that trainee teachers will be charged up to £3,000 a year in top-up fees from 2006.
The NPC passed a motion at the 2005 Annual General Meeting to oppose the introduction of tuition fees to PGCE students, restoring the exemptions from fees that has previously been granted to all PGCE students.
The motion is outlined below:
The National Postgraduate Committee notes:
1. That students on one year PGCE course are currently exempt from the £1,150 tuition fee, which is met by the Government through general taxation;
2. That the Government plans to remove fee concessions on PGCE courses from 2006, meaning the PGCE students will face tuition fees of up to £3,000;
3. That this proposed change in fee arrangements for PGCE students has taken place without proper consultation with NUS and the teaching unions;
4. That every HEI in England will charge top-up fees, all but 7 (one being Wolverhampton University) will be charging the full £3,000 fees.
The National Postgraduate Committee believes:
1. That the introductions of top-up fees on PGCE courses will deter graduates from entering the teaching professions and will be detrimental to attracting the most suitable and qualified applicants;
2. That whilst the governments has so far been successful in attracting the highest number of teacher training entrants since 1975, there remains a shortage of teachers in the UK; this shortage is particularly acute in certain subject areas and is likely to worsen under the new fee arrangements;
3. That teachers are valuable public sector workers of enormous societal value; graduates should not have to pay fees on PGCE courses that equip then to educate and inspire future generations of young people;
4. That if we assume the same implementation of top-up fees for PGCEs, everywhere will bring in the charge.
The National Postgraduate Committee resolves:
1. To support the West Midlands Area NUS (WMANUS) to run a priority campaign 2005/6 calling for the Government to restore the exemptions from fees that has previously been granted to all PGCE students;
2. To support any campaigning organisations Campaigning work on this issue and lobby to ensure it is complimentary to any WMANUS campaigns.
The National Postgraduate Committee mandates:
1. The General Secretary to be at the forefront of this campaigning work in the NPC, and to work with WMANUS on their campaign on this issue.
The OGM held at The University of Essex launched this campaign and we ask students, associations and unions to write to their local MPs, Lords and to the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education Bill Rammell MP in opposing the removal of exemption from fees.
The NPC are supporting WMANUS in this campaign. WMANUS are conducting a survey to see what impact fees would have on choosing to study a PGCE which you can download from http://www.wmanus.org/campaigns/PGCE.htm. Please forward your replies to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com.