Top UK Students Given £20k Teaching Bursaries

Graduates with first-class degrees will be able to claim considerable bursaries to teach subjects seen as vital to pupils' future career prospects, such as math, physics, chemistry, biology and foreign languages, writes Graeme Paton at the Telegraph.

Students awarded with 2.1or 2.2 class degrees will be eligible for smaller bursaries and those with third-class degrees with be refused funding for teacher training courses at all.

The plans, outlined by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, are part of a sweeping reform of the teacher training system in England, and are expected to be introduced for new trainee teachers starting in September 2012.

The reforms come just days after Sir Michael Wilshaw, the incoming head of OFSTED, warned that the watchdog needed to do more to crack down on coasting teachers.

Under the strategy, student teachers will be expected to display better standards of English and maths before being allowed to qualify – scrapping a current rule that gives trainees unlimited attempts to pass basic tests in the three-Rs, writes Paton.

Wilshaw said extra effort was needed to identify "the teacher… who year in, year out just comes up to the mark, but only just, and does the bare minimum".

Mr Gove said:

"If we want to have an education system that ranks with the best in the world, then we need to attract the best people to train to teach, and we need to give them outstanding training.

"We have some excellent teachers in this country, but many who could make a huge difference in the lives of children choose other professions."

Bursaries of £20,000 will be available for students with a first-class degree to teach maths, sciences and foreign languages. Students with a 2:1 degree are set to get £15,000 to teach the most important subjects, while those with 2:2s could receive £11,000, writes Paton.

Lesser awards of around £9,000 will be awarded to students teaching other secondary subjects and to work in primary schools.

"In particular we are going to ensure in primary schools we will have science and maths specialists, alongside other teachers, to improve their maths and their science so we can once again become a world leading nation," Gove told the Telegraph.

Potentially thousands of graduates could be prevented from entering the profession, as ministers will also underline their determination to focus on the best students by refusing to fund courses for those who fail to gain at least a 2:2.

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