To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent intiatives have been taken by his Department to encourage more students to study shortage subjects during initial teacher training.
The Department has supported expenditure of over £56 million since July 1986 on a range of measures to combat teacher shortages. These measures include a bursary scheme to improve recruitment to initial teacher training in the shortage subjects; national advertising and publicity, spearheaded by the Teaching as a career unit; taster courses, to enable those seeking a career change to obtain some experience of teaching; new initial and in-service training courses; and support for local initiatives to attract mature new entrants and former serving teachers. The majority of these initiatives are focussed on the shortage subjects.My right hon. Friend announced on 12 March his intention to increase funding for the bursary scheme. He proposes to extend it to include modern foreign languages alongside the existing subjects of craft, design and technology, chemistry, mathematics, technology and physics, and to raise the level of the bursary from £1,300 to £1,500 for all subjects except physics where the bursary will be increased to £2,000.