Maths teacher boost for further education colleges

maths problem The "golden hello" will rise to £10,000 if graduates train to support learners who have special educational needs

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Graduates who take up a maths teaching post at a further education (FE) college in England are to be given a "golden hello" of £7,500.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said the money would be paid in the second year of teaching.

The £20m FE maths drive will also give colleges bonus payments of £20,000 if they recruit a graduate maths teacher.

The aim is to ensure young people taking vocational courses have the maths skills required by employers.

Maths is now an essential component of traineeships, apprenticeships and vocational education courses.

From September last year, students in England who fail to achieve at least a C grade in maths GCSE must carry on studying the subject until the age of 18.

The move followed concerns that too many teenagers were leaving education without the skills required by employers.

'Essential foundation'

The £7,500 "golden hello" for FE maths teachers will rise to £10,000 if graduates train to support learners who have special educational needs.

The government is also funding a subject-knowledge enhancement scheme, whereby graduates who have the necessary skills to teach, but need to develop some specific maths skills before they start, can receive the extra training they need.

The government hopes the new cash injection of £20m in England's FE sector will result in more than 500 maths teachers being recruited by September 2015.

Skills And Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said: "Maths is an essential foundation for any career. Taught well it opens up a range of possible jobs and makes a real difference to progression to the highest levels.

"Attracting the brightest and best graduates to teach in maths in further education will help ensure learners get the educational grounding they need.

'Fundamental problem'

"This is an important step in creating a skilled workforce that meets the needs of employers and can better compete in the global race."

Joy Mercer, director of policy at the Association of Colleges, welcomed the incentive for colleges to take on new graduates, but warned of wider concerns about funding.

"This is short term funding that will allow colleges to compete with schools when recruiting new maths staff," she said.

"However there is a fundamental problem because the Department for Education thinks it costs considerably less to educate and train a 16 to 19-year-old than a school pupil."

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