The government is to increase the number of bursaries and scholarships available to trainee teachers in a bid to attract the best graduates from science and technology courses.
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Schools minister David Laws announced the measures today, promising 680 extra teacher training scholarships for the academic year 2014 to 2015, awarded by respected subject organisations to the most talented maths, physics, chemistry and computing trainees.
Higher bursaries will also be given to top graduates in maths, physics, chemistry, computing and languages to teach priority subjects at school, including English, history, biology, geography, music, and design and technology.
“We want to recruit the most talented graduates with the potential to be brilliant teachers in key subjects,” said Laws. “The expansion of the scholarships and bursaries schemes will help us to attract these graduates into teaching - ensuring that all children get the education they deserve.”
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Graduates applying to teach computing with a first or 2:1 degree will receive a £20,000 bursary, up from £9,000 and £4,000, respectively. New bursaries will also be introduced for those with a 2:2, worth £15,000.
The number of scholarships funded by the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, will grow from 57 last year to 100 in 2014 and include more mentoring from the links of Microsoft, IBM, BT and Google.
“The value is now not that much less than the average annual earnings of a full-time worker in the UK [so] the scholarship should help us to attract the very best people to become teachers,” said Bill Mitchell, director of the BCS Academy of Computing.
“Taken with the increase in the other bursaries available for teacher training, the incentives for becoming a computing teacher are now on a par with other subjects such as physics and maths.”
Scholarships for graduates training to teach maths, physics, chemistry and computing with a 2:1 will also rise from £20,000 to £25,000 and bursaries for graduates training to teach maths and physics with a 2:1 will increase from £15,000 to £20,000, matching bursaries for those with a first.
For those with a 2:2, bursaries will increase from £12,000 to £15,000, but for the first time new bursaries of £9,000 will be introduced for maths and physics trainees with a relevant degree and an A level in the subject with a grade B or higher.