Press release

Bursaries of up to £20,000 offered to teach maths, English or Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Money to improve numeracy and literacy teaching to young people was announced by Vince Cable.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Grants of £20,000 will be offered to maths graduates to encourage them to teach in further education colleges. This will improve the skills of those choosing vocational training, especially in areas like engineering where the UK has a massive skills shortage. There will also be £9,000 available for graduates teaching English.

Businesses have long complained that they cannot recruit young people with the right maths and English skills. 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.

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable said:

Too many businesses tell me they cannot find young people with the numeracy and literacy skills they need.

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.

For 2013 to 2014 graduates will get funding toward their initial teacher training:

  • maths graduates could be eligible for £20,000
  • those wishing to teach English could be eligible for £9,000
  • those who want to specialise in teaching SEN students will be eligible for £9,000

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said:

It does not matter whether you are studying vital skills like carpentry or studying at University to be a research scientist there is not a job in this country that does not need maths and English.

These bursaries will help us recruit the brightest and best teachers so we can improve standards and provide people with the basic skills they need for a rewarding career.

They will also make sure that we promote excellence in special needs teaching so that we protect members of our society that are potentially the most vulnerable.

The bursaries will be available for 2 years as part of a government commitment to raising standards in the teaching of maths and English across the board.

In addition, £1 million in grants will fund high-level specialist training for those already working with students with SEN, through continuous professional development (CPD). This new package of support will help to equip teachers in the FE sector with the skills and confidence to help young people with SEN realise their full potential.

As a further commitment to improving English and maths standards in further education, the government is taking steps to ensure that all providers set and deliver high aspirations for learners. We will measure and record improvements in English and maths and consider whether this can be extended to other subjects. We will set out more details in the autumn.

Notes to editors

  1. From September students who have not passed maths GCSE at school will continue to study it at college.

  2. Changes to the system for children and young people with SEN in the Children and Families Bill currently before Parliament will create support from birth to 25. There will be a stronger focus on achieving positive outcomes for young people and these bursaries will help attract the best to aid in this goal.

  3. The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) will now be working in partnership with Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Training (CETT) to support high-quality CPD for teachers of mathematics in the FE sector and to establish strategic hubs in each region to identify needs and ensure provision for mathematics CPD. The first priority for the hubs will be to ensure that all further education colleges have access to the NCETM Post-16 GCSE Mathematics CPD Enhancement Programme.

  4. A further £1 million will also be provided to the existing independent network of CETTs.

  5. Further announcements on how to apply for these bursaries will be made in the autumn.

  6. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 1 August 2013