Maths and science will top pay hierarchy

SCIENCE and maths teachers could be paid more than their colleagues under new proposals by the Government to boost science, engineering and technology in the UK.

A report published this week, outlines how the extra pound;1.25 billion allocated to science in last week's spending review will be used.

Money will be used to improve laboratories in schools and universities, fund science and engineering research, improve links between higher education and business and address the severe teacher shortage in science and maths.

The School Teachers' Review Body, which advises ministers on teachers' pay, will be asked to look at "targeted incentive packages" for maths and science teachers. The reports specifically mentions "paying more to good science and mathematics teachers".

It also outlines a new programme that would pay undergraduate and postgraduates scientists pound;40 a day to go into schools during their studies. This could benefit secondaries near universities.

Education Secretary Estelle Morris, said she wanted to give a clear signal to science teachers that they were valued.

New maths and science teachers already qualify for a pound;4,000 "golden hello" and all subject teachers are in line to benefit from plans to write off off their student loans.

Science bodies want Ms Morris to spell out detailed plans to improve pay. Peter Cotgreave, director of Save British Science, said: "Paying off student debts for people who go into teaching is important. But a first-class scientist can walk into a job that pays at least twice as much as teaching. Salaries have got to be more competitive."

The science curriculum will be overhauled in a bid to make it more appealing to pupils.

* Employers this week claimed that GCSEs and A-levels were too easy, allowing students to qualify with "worthless", degrees in "soft" subjects.

The Institute of Directors wants clear vocational pathways and the government target of half of young people attending university by 2010 to be scrapped.

The author of the report, Ruth Lea, said: "We need more plumbers and fewer media studies graduates."

Leader, 12

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