Government launches maths scholarships for new trainee teachers

Britain's leading graduates are to be tempted by a 20,000 training scholarship to become the mathematics teachers of the future, under new job plans outlined by the Government.

Education Secretary Michael Gove revealed a new three-pronged partnership between the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), the London Mathematical Society (LMS) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS).

The bodies will unite to provide more than 150 scholarships, worth 20,000 each, for graduates who possess a 2:1 or first-class degree, with an emphasis on raising teaching standards across the country for the next generation of maths students.

Ministers said the move was part of a wider Government strategy to help improve Britain's position in the global race to connect fast-growing places around the world and lead the stuttering economy back to growth.

"High-quality mathematics education is at the heart of improving our society and our economy," said Mr Gove.

"By working together, these prestigious institutions will help deliver a scholarship scheme to make sure we have excellent mathematics teachers in this country with deep subject knowledge.

"It will help raise the status of the teaching profession and also make a huge difference in the lives of children."

The partnership will work alongside experts in statistics and teaching practice to award the scholarships to the very best candidates, with the top rewards on offer for those who demonstrate a strong mathematical background, an excellent understanding of the subject and statistics at school level, and a commitment to education and learning.

Scholars will benefit from a tax-free bursary, while other opportunities, such as membership offers, teacher support services, and free access to journals, seminars and events, will be on offer to the graduates.

The Institute of Physics kicked off the Government's teacher training strategy earlier this year by leading similar scholarship schemes in chemistry and computer science to much acclaim, with the Coalition hoping its commitment to mathematics will spark a sustainable economic recovery.

Nigel Steele, honorary secretary for education at the IMA, said: "Mathematics, through its applications, already contributes massively to the UK economy.

"Research also shows that those who do well at mathematics at school are likely to earn significantly more than their peers.

"The scholarship scheme designed by the IMA, on behalf of its collaborating bodies, will attract highly-qualified graduates and career-changers who might not otherwise have considered teaching as a career."

Copyright Press Association 2012