Tories to encourage high fliers to teach

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The Independent Online

The Conservatives will today unveil plans to lure people from the world of banking into teaching.

Party leader David Cameron will reveal plans to extend the Teach First scheme, under which the brightest graduates would be fast-tracked into teaching jobs if they have not already studied for a teaching qualification.

Under the proposals, the scheme will be extended to talented professionals from other walks of life who want to switch careers. Like the Teach First graduates, they will be mentored from their first day in the classroom and will earn a wage while they train on the job.

At present, about 4,000 would-be teachers train through a graduate teaching programme every year. These include teaching assistants who want to improve their existing skills.

The Conservatives' plan would scrap this scheme and replace it with on-the-job training – or Teach Now, as they plan to call it – recruiting high fliers from other professions to improve the overall quality of training.

At today's launch, the Tories will also confirm plans to raise the bar on entry to the profession, refusing those with a third-class degree. They will also promise to repay the student loans of top maths and science graduates if they decide to become teachers, to encourage more young people from these disciplines to apply.

Mr Cameron will say: "At the moment if you're a twenty-something or thirty-something who has made it in another career but fancy giving it a go, the bureaucratic odds are stacked against you." He will say that the new scheme "will make a huge difference to our children – they'll be able to learn from those who've made it in business, in the arts, in the creative industries".