Industry welcomes £20k teaching bursaries for STEM subjects

Posted on 1 Aug 2013 by Tim Brown

Bursaries of £20,000 and £9,000 will be available to top maths, science and English graduates who choose a career in teaching in a move designed to improve the quality of learning in further education colleges.

According to the BIS website, in 2013/14 trainees will need at least a 2:2 to be eligible for a training bursary.

Financial incentives for those who train in 2013/14

Training bursary 2013/14 ITT subject/phase
Physics, chemistry, maths1 Modern languages Primary maths specialist2 Other priority secondary3 and primary
1:1 £20,000 £20,000 £11,000 £9,000
2:1 £15,000 £15,000 £6,000 £4,000
2:2 £12,000 £12,000 £0 £0


The government’s most recent Skills for Life Survey showed that 24% of the population (8.1 million people) lack basic numeracy, and 15% (5.1 million people) lack basic literacy.

Vince Cable BIS
Vince Cable, BIS

“Too many businesses tell me they cannot find young people with the numeracy and literacy skills they need,” said Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable.

“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 it is not possible to enter a full Apprenticeship until then.

“This government money will help. It will help more young people get the skills needed to get a job.”

The Government has said it is committed to raising the status of the teaching profession, in the bid to make it a highly attractive career for top graduates, admitting that there has been a longstanding problem recruiting the high quality maths and science teachers we need.

  • South Korea recruits teachers from the top five per cent of graduates and Finland from the top 10 per cent.
  • Only two per cent of the highest achieving graduates from our top universities train to become teachers on graduating.
  • Independent research shows the difference high quality teachers make. An eight-year-old taught by a top performing teacher can make as much as two year’s additional progress by the time they reach 11, compared to a pupil with a low performing teacher.
  • Last year the UK recruited around 260 fewer trainees to physics initial teacher training courses and 80 fewer chemistry trainees than we needed.

Commenting on the government’s announcement, Tim Thomas, Head of Employment Policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said that the bursaries would go some way to driving up the quality of teaching academic subjects, as well as vocational learning, in further education colleges.

However, he said, “if the Government wants to go further, it should now explore the merits in capping the repayment of fees of graduates that study these subjects and then go onto teach them.”