Lost-graduate teacher training students are to be paid pound;6,000 a year in an attempt to meet recruitment shortfalls.
Educationists have expressed fears that the policy threatens the future of the four-year bachelor of education degree with the in-depth training it offers.
The move is mainly intended to recruit more secondary teachers, the likely benefit for primaries being the possiblity of more men in the classroom - currently only one in seven primary teachers.
Others have welcomed the idea of paying trainees and predicted a 20 per cent rise in recruitment. In England the payments will be introduced from September for secondary teachers, along with a one-year trial scheme for primary teachers. In Wales the scheme will only apply to secondary trainees.