Teachers to receive £5,000 incentive to retrain in physics

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The Independent Online

Teachers will be offered a £5,000 "sweetener" if they opt to retrain in physics, maths or chemistry, the Government announced last night.

The cash incentive is one of a series of measures announced by Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls in the wake of a 193-page report by former science minister Lord Sainsbury aimed at revitalising the way science is taught in schools and universities.

More cash will also be earmarked to double the number of after-hours science and engineering clubs set up by schools. Next week's comprehensive spending review, scheduled to be published on Tuesday, is expected to earmark £8m for this initiative.

Speaking at a seminar in Downing Street for business leaders and experts from the worlds of science and engineering, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made it clear that the area of biggest concern was A-level physics, which had seen a decline over 20 years. It had slipped down the list of popular subjects after the introduction of a double science award at GCSE, embracing biology, physics and chemistry in an exam worth the equivalent of two GCSEs.

Many scientists saw this as a "dumbing down" of the science curriculum. The report called for a return to the study of separate sciences.