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Hallelujah for cash carrots

Trainee music and RE teachers are to be given golden hellos worth pound;2,500 each as the Government attempts to woo students to teach shortage subjects.

The cash is part of a package of new incentives starting next year worth up to pound;14,000 for some trainees planning to work in secondary schools.

But there will be no increase in bursaries for trainee primary teachers, who are struggling to find jobs (see below).

The biggest incentives will go to new secondary maths and science teachers whose bursaries will rise from pound;7,000 to pound;9,000 from September 2006 and who will continue to receive a golden hello of pound;5,000.

Teachers of the other official shortage secondary subjects - modern languages, ICT, design and technology, English, drama, and music - will also receive increases.

Their golden hellos will be cut from pound;4,000 to pound;2,500 but their bursaries are to be increased from pound;6,000 to pound;9,000.

The same benefits will be given to music and RE teachers, a move certain to be welcomed by their subject associations who have complained that they have not been eligible for golden hellos in the past. There will be no change to the pound;6,000 bursaries for the remaining PGCE students, including art, geography, history, PE and all primary teachers.

The Government has also decided to abandon a scheme which repaid the loans of 17,857 teachers after a three-year pilot. An independent evaluation last year showed that paying off students' loans had little impact on their decision to enter teaching.

Ministers will also stop trainee teachers from joining its expensive Fast Track scheme, although qualified teachers will still be eligible.

The programme gives high-fliers an extra pound;5,000 during training, an extra pound;2,000 a year when they begin working and other perks including free laptops, printers and digital cameras.

However, far fewer than the predicted 1,000 a year have been fast-tracked, with an average of 350 a year joining the scheme since it started in 2001.

Ministers also confirmed that students starting PGCE courses next year will be liable for the new variable tuition fees of up to pound;3,000 a year.

However, all students on teacher training courses will get a pound;1,200 grant in addition to the bursaries.

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