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Bursaries for Initial Teacher Training

Volume 542: debated on Tuesday 27 March 2012

I am writing to update the House on the level of bursaries for initial teacher training in academic year 2012-13.

On 23 February I announced funding of £11.5 million for bursaries to support initial teacher training undertaken by teachers in the FE sector in 2012-13. As I said then, it is a powerful demonstration of the Government’s wholehearted commitment to the FE and skills sector that despite the current financial pressures and in challenging times, we are looking to secure the talents and skills of potential FE teachers.

Recruiting the best talent is central to making the sector as good as it can be, and a key element in our approach to driving up standards and increasing professionalism in the sector. Further education is at the heart of economic revival; at the core of social renewal.

In my written answer of 1 March, Official Report, column 446W, to a question from the my hon. Friend the Member for Beverley and Holderness (Mr Stuart), I promised further details of that bursary scheme, which are outlined below.

FE Bursaries

Two levels of bursary will be available:

(a) a bursary of £1,000 available for up to 10,000 applicants seeking to teach in the FE and skills sector and following an HEI-accredited route; and,

(b) a bursary of £1,500 available for up to 1,000 applicants seeking to teach basic maths and English (including functional skills) and also following an HEI-accredited route.

Bursaries are open to both in-service and pre-service trainees who will be following a Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS) at level 5 or a post-graduate qualification such as PGCE at level 6 or 7. Bursaries will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

BIS officials are discussing the most effective administration of the bursaries with the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS), who will need to discuss with key stakeholders further details of the administration of the scheme.

The bursaries are currently for 2012-13 only. Funding arrangements for teacher training beyond 2012-13 will be reviewed in the light of the recommendations announced today in the independent review of professionalism, chaired by my noble Friend Lord Lingfield, and changes to FE and skills funding that will introduce loans for training at this level from September 2013, aligning it more closely with arrangements in higher education.

Other related arrangements

(a) Fee grant: there are currently in excess of 2,500 part-time ITT trainees in the first year of their teacher training and who have received their fee grant of £400 from the Institute for Learning (IfL.) These trainees will not be eligible for the FE bursary. However, those continuing into their second year will be eligible for a further £400 fee grant, to be administered by IfL.

(b) Awarding body provision: ITT qualifications accredited by awarding bodies and on the qualifications and curriculum framework will continue to be funded in 2012-13 by the Skills Funding Agency.

(c) Priority subjects: I am reviewing whether more needs to be done specifically within the FE and skills sector to support priority subjects such as STEM.