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Up to pound;1,000 to try out the job

BURSARIES of up to pound;1,000 are being offered to undergraduates to try out teaching while taking their degree courses.

The Teacher Training Agency is planning to recruit 3,000 students in two schemes aimed at attracting graduates to the profession.

The move follows the success of pilot programmes for the Undergraduate Credit scheme, set up last September for students in their final or penultimate year, and the Teacher Associate scheme, which started two years ago and is aimed at all undergraduates.

The TTA plans to expand the Undergraduate Credit scheme, under which "credits" can be earned towards future postgraduate teacher training, from around 360 places to 2,000 next year.

The Teacher Associate scheme, which supports teachers and helps students decide whether they wish to pursue a career in education, is also being expanded from around 330 places to 1,000.

Seven universities are involved in this year's six pilot projects, which have paid students between pound;400 and pound;1,000 for up to 30 days of school-based training and university courses. Schools received between pound;400 and pound;600 for supporting students.

The work enables undergraduates to claim up to a third of the requirements for qualified teacher status, the TTA said.

But universities are still grappling with how these "credits" can be translated into shorter or better training experiences on postgraduate teaching courses.

Jennifer Holden, 22, a second-year geography student at London University's School of Oriental and African Studies, has been taking part in the Institute of Education's credit scheme.

She saw it as a way of "cementing" her interest in teaching, rather than a way of shortening her subsequent postgraduate training.

She said: "The credits and the money are a bonus, but it is the experience. It is an 'add-on', rather than a 'taking away'."

Brian Netto, deputy head of 600-pupil Fulham Cross girls' school, London, where four undergraduates undertook training, said: "It has been a good opportunity for them to get a feel of what school life and teaching are like.

"I don't think any of them have been put off teaching."

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