A new bursary scheme that aims to encourage more graduates to teach maths and English in further education colleges has been announced.
Grants of up to £20,000 will be offered to maths graduates, while £9,000 will be available to graduates teaching English and those wishing to focus on teaching students with special educational needs.
The government said it is offering the incentives in order to help businesses that struggle to find young people with the numeracy and literacy skills they need.
The recent Skills for Life Survey undertaken by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills showed that 24 per cent of the population (8.1 million people) lack basic numeracy and 15 per cent (5.1 million people) lack basic literacy.
Business secretary Vince Cable said: “It’s not just those planning on going to university who need to have a firm grasp of English and maths. These basic competencies are needed for all types of employment and apprenticeships.”
In addition to the bursaries, £1 million in grants will fund high-level specialist training for those already working with students with SEN, through continuing professional development (CPD). This new package of support will help to equip teachers in the FE sector with the skills and confidence to help young people with SEN realise their full potential.
The news was welcomed by FE professional body the Institute for Learning (IfL), which has been calling for some time for a bursary system in the sector similar to that operating in schools.
Jean Kelly, IfL’s director of professional development, said: “The increased funding for initial teacher training will help attract graduates to the profession, increasing the number of trained and motivated teachers who can improve young people’s and adults’ numeracy and literacy skills. The extra funding to support excellence in special needs teaching is also very welcome.”
The bursaries will be available for two years as part of a government commitment to raising standards in maths and English teaching across the board.
Details of further measures to improve English and maths standards in the FE sector will be announced in the autumn.