New grants to recruit more further education teachers in Wales

New grants are being offered to student teachers, with the Welsh government saying its recruitment priority is to encourage more to work in further education colleges.

A union official welcomed the move, and said the sector was broad with teaching in a wide range of subjects.

Grants of up to £3,000 will be offered in the 2012/13 academic year.

The initial teacher training (ITT) grant is for students on postgraduate courses of further education.

The incentives do not apply to people wanting to teach in maintained schools.

Education Minister Leighton Andrews said they would be available "to target our highest recruitment priorities, including support for the teaching of literacy and numeracy, whilst recognising the importance placed on recruiting quality teachers across all subjects in the FE and skills sector".

He added: "These incentives will help attract good quality students to train as FE teachers in Wales, and support ITT providers in Wales which run these courses to compete effectively for the most talented applicants."

David Hytch, north Wales branch secretary of the union ATL (Association of Teachers and Lecturers) said due to the economic conditions, not much additional money was available, so anything extra was a bonus.

'Targeted funding'

"To be fair to the minister, he has tried to match his rhetoric with targeted funding," he said.

Mr Hytch said the FE sector was broad, with colleges and schools offering dozens of subject areas such as ecology and car maintenance.

The incentives relate to full-time, pre-employment, postgraduate further education ITT courses beginning in the 2012/13 academic year only.

A grant of £1,000 will be payable to all new eligible students across all subjects other than science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related subjects.

A higher grant of £3,000 will be made available to eligible students training to teach STEM related subjects.

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