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Cameron to launch £67m Stem initiative


Cameron with apprentices
Cameron with apprentices

Thousands of teachers will return to the classroom for retraining in maths, science and technology

David Cameron has announced a £67 million initiative to improve teaching in mathematics, science and technology, which will see around 15,000 teachers go back to the classroom for retraining to raise school standards in the subjects.

Top A-level students will also be offered a bursary to help pay for maths and physics degrees if they agree to a career in the classroom.

Details of the scheme, which is expected to be ready for pupils applying to go to university next year, have yet to be finalised but could mean students receive around 75% of their course fees, as well as some living costs, in return for a teaching commitment of between five and seven years.

Under the plans, specialist training will be given to existing teachers to enhance the way they teach maths and science, including contact with industry to ensure they are up to speed on the latest developments. A further 2,500 teachers will recruited over the course of the next Parliament on top of existing plans.

A national college for digital skills will also be set up in London next year with outposts then expected across the country.

The prime minister is hosting a digital event at Downing Street to mark the start of a campaign to encourage people to learn computer coding skills.

He said: "There's no secret to success in the modern world. If countries are going to win in the global race and children compete and get the best jobs, you need mathematicians and scientists - pure and simple.

"This is all part of our long-term economic plan for Britain - making sure our children have the skills they need to thrive and get on. And by sticking to it, we will lift our children's horizons and pull our country up in the world."

Around 5,000 students are expected to pass through the doors of the planned new specialist digital college, which has backing from a range of international companies including Deloitte, Henderson Global Investors and IBM.

Children with high maths scores at the age of 10 earn 7% more by the time they reach 30, according to the government.
Peter Finegold, head of education and skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said in response to the opening of a National College for Digital Skills in London in 2015:

“If government is serious about encouraging more people into these sectors, much more work needs to be done to improve the poor standards of careers advice on offer to most teenagers, who often have little opportunity to find out about the range of career opportunities on offer. We need better links between schools and local industries.

“Government also needs to seriously consider the possibility of providing subsidies for students pursuing degrees in business-critical subjects like science and engineering and needs to put in place rigorous standards for apprentices to ensure they are in industries where there is a real potential for jobs, like engineering, and that standards are verified through accreditation by bodies such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.”



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