New financial incentives of up to £10,000 for maths teachers who stay in the FE sector have been unveiled as the government seeks to improve literacy and numeracy.
It comes after grants of up to £20,000 for graduates who choose to teach English or maths in the sector were announced in February.
In the government’s further education Workforce Strategy, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock (pictured) emphasised a need to increase the number of English and maths teachers in FE.
He unveiled plans for a retention scheme involving “golden hello” payments of £7,500 for maths teachers in their second year of teaching.
Those who train to teach learners with special educational needs could get up to £10,000 under the scheme, taking the total potential incentive offered to new teachers to £30,000.
The launch of the payments will coincide with a change in funding rules which will mean full-time learners without a grade C in GCSE English and maths will have to work towards the qualification.
In the strategy document, Mr Hancock said: “FE is not seen as a sufficiently attractive career option. It isn’t attracting enough of the best young graduates to replace those teachers who are coming up to retirement; it is not as immediately attractive as teaching in schools or working in industry.
“And there are skills gaps. There are too few specialist teachers in the key areas of maths and English and insufficient support from the wider workforce for the work of maths and English specialists.
“The sector struggles to fill vacancies in some key occupational groups and to keep vocational education up-to-date and relevant in order to meet skills gaps in the economy (particularly higher vocational skills).
“The government’s infrastructure plan, and our growth objectives for industrial strategy sectors, will increase the demand for these skilled individuals further, making it harder still for colleges to recruit suitable individuals.”
Under the scheme, the grant of up to £10,000 in a teacher’s second year in the job could be paid on top of grants of up to £20,000 aimed at encouraging graduates to teach in the sector.
The new scheme has been welcomed by the Education and Training Foundation, which will administer the payments.
Chief executive David Russell said: “We are delighted that the generous financial incentives that have already boosted the recruitment of able and committed subject specialists to teach in our schools are now being made available to the education and training sector.
“There has never been a better time to come and teach in our vibrant and diverse sector, and we hope that colleges and training providers across the sector familiarise themselves with what is on offer, and take full advantage.”
Peter Roberts, chair of the 157 Group and chief executive of Leeds City College, said: “The additional funding for staff recruitment contained within the “FE Workforce Strategy” is clearly welcome.
“Such government investment is a clear acknowledgement of the good work already being done by the vast majority of FE colleges to support high-quality vocational training and the raising of skill levels in English and maths.”