Press release

Hundreds of teachers awarded national scholarships

The first round of successful bids to the government’s new £2 million scholarship scheme for teachers were announced today by ministers.

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

The National Scholarship Fund for teachers, announced earlier in the year, was set up to help existing teachers in England to develop their skills and help them deepen their subject knowledge.

The Coalition Government firmly believes that the quality of teachers and their professional development are enormously important. That is why, as set out in the Schools White Paper, the Government is committed to developing a strong culture of professional development where more teachers acquire postgraduate qualifications and are supported to progress further academically.

Almost 2,000 teachers applied for the scheme, offering scholarships worth up to £3,500 each. The Department for Education today has confirmed the successful applications:

  • 280 scholarships for teachers working in priority subjects and specialisms - English, maths and science.
  • 391 scholarships for Special Education Needs (SEN) teachers.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

These scholarships have been awarded to teachers who have the potential to make a significant contribution to the country’s intellectual heritage through the acquisition of deeper subject knowledge.

Nothing is more important for raising standards in our schools than ensuring that we have more great teachers. These scholarships, alongside our other reforms to improve teacher recruitment and training, will elevate the status of the teaching profession.

The scheme is open to all qualified teachers. The maximum scholarship value is £3,500 but the value of each award varies depending on the type of activity funded. Around £2 million has been allocated for 2011/12 and we expect similar funding in the future.

Applications in respect of the three priority subjects were received for a wide variety of activities ranging from a Masters in Applied Linguistics to attendance at a Summer School. SEN activity included MEd in Autism, MA in Special and Inclusive Education, and PG Diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties Dyslexia.

The scholarships are awarded where applications are judged to be of sufficient merit. The first round of the scholarship scheme was awarded based on the following criteria:

  • priority subjects/specialism - to include maths, English, science and Special Educational Needs;
  • support from school - teachers will be required to demonstrate support from their school in terms of accessing resources and being able to carry out activities within and outside the school; and
  • level and type of scholarship activity - encourages serving teachers to pursue knowledge independently to Masters level and beyond.

Brian Lamb, Chair of the Lamb Inquiry and Achievement for All, said:

It is crucial that children with SEN, who have some of the most complex needs and challenges, are taught by teachers with the expertise and professional skills to match this challenge. This scholarship programme is vital if we are to have the well-trained and expert SEN teachers of the future. I was hugely impressed by the quality and commitment of the scholarship applicants. This programme can make a profound difference to the outcomes for children with SEN.

Ian McNeilly, Director of the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE), said:

This prestigious national scholarship scheme will prove of great value to those teachers who have shown the initiative and commitment to undertake high-level professional development.

Professor Hilary Povey, Professor of Mathematics Education at Sheffield Hallam University, said:

It was encouraging to see mathematics teachers’ thirst for further study of their subject and how best to teach it. I was delighted to be part of the process.

The National Scholarship Fund for teachers is administered by the Training and Development Agency for Teachers (TDA). The next round of applications for the scholarship funding is due to open in spring 2012. Further details can be found on the Department for Education’s website.

Notes for editors

Awards by region

Region English Maths Science SEN< Total (by Region)
East Midlands 10 6 1 27 44
East of England 17 14 6 30 67
London 16 12 8 52 88
North East 2 2 1 16 21
North West 27 9 15 86 137
South East 29 10 9 62 110
South West 12 7 6 42 67
West Midland 13 4 3 44 64
Yorkshire & Humber 17 15 9 32 73
Total (by type) 143 79 58 391 671

Details from some of the teachers who have been awarded a scholarship


Jennifer Alderson, from Newquay Tretherras School in Cornwall, will use the scholarship to fund her final dissertation at Huddersfield University. She said:

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to focus on teaching and to be provided with help to support such an important part of children’s learning. My research will particularly focus on how children can improve their response to long-answer questions in the new GCSE syllabus.

Natasha Imran, from Kingsway Park High School in Rochdale, is studying for an MSc in STEM Education at Manchester Met University. She said:

I’m really happy to receive some support that will have a very positive impact on my career. I am a chemist and work in a school with a high number of pupils with English as an additional language and Special Educational Needs, so aim to focus my work on them.


Helen Clark, from Emmanuel Holcombe CE Primary in Bury, Lancashire, plans to undertake a Masters degree in mathematics with Edge Hill University. She said:

I am very happy to learn that I have received a scholarship. It will enable me to look at the progress being made by more able children in mathematics and particularly at their ability with mental maths and problem solving.

Christopher Rollinson, from Royston Meadstead Primary School in Barnsley, applied for the Mathematics Specialist Teacher Programme at Sheffield Hallam University. He said:

The scholarship will allow me to direct my teaching, as a numeracy specialist and assistant head, towards improving numeracy teaching and learning across the school, and to raising standards.


Theresa Adams, from Middle Park Primary School in Eltham, London, is studying for Education MA with Literacy and Learning; Literacy and Creativity, at University of Greenwich. She said:

Wonderful news. I will be able to pass on the knowledge gained to other teachers, pupils and student teachers.

Siobhan Clegg, from Frankley Community High School in Birmingham, is studying difficulties in literacy development at The Open University. She said:

Brilliant! Very excited. Super. Fabulous.


Joanna Duffy, from Almondsbury Primary School in Bristol, applied for a postgraduate diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties at Bath Spa University. She said:

The course that I have applied for will enable me to carry out dyslexia assessment which will be invaluable to the school and their pupils. It will also provide parents with more valid information and guidance. I am very, very pleased to hear that I will have a scholarship to support my studies.

Brendan Anderson, from the Behaviour Support Team of Plymouth City Council, will use his scholarship to support his international Masters degree studies. He said:

Big changes are taking place which will involve more locality working. The course will give me more of a professional stance working alongside others and colleagues with Masters degrees which is great news for me.

The Teaching Agency

From April 2012, the Teaching Agency, a new executive agency, will replace, amongst other bodies, the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA). It will be responsible for ensuring the supply of high-quality teachers and training, and for teacher regulation. This is subject to getting all necessary approvals, including Parliamentary approval of related legislation. More details are available on the arms length bodies section of the Department for Education’s website.

DfE enquiries

Central newsdesk - for journalists 020 7783 8300

General enquiries - for members of the public 0370 000 2288

Published 12 December 2011