The Conservatives will today pledge to make teaching a “noble profession” again by banning entry to the classroom for those with poor qualifications.
The Tory leader David Cameron will outline plans to make teaching a “well-rewarded” profession and to offer new financial incentives to the brightest graduates while creating a fast-track system for professionals wanting to move into teaching.
Cameron will say that under a Conservative government, no one without at least a 2:2 would get funding to train as a teacher, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Official figures show that almost one in 10 trainee teachers studying for the postgraduate certificate in education has a third-class degree or lower qualification.
He is expected to say: “We will end the current system where people with-third class degrees can get taxpayers’ money to enter postgraduate teacher training. With our plans, if you want to become a teacher – and get funding for it – you need a 2:2 or higher.”
The pledge will build on a Tory plan announced last year to raise the entry qualifications for primary teachers.
The Conservatives’ leader will also pledge that maths and science graduates from the 25 best universities who go into teaching will have their loans paid off.
Undergraduates can currently borrow £3,000 a year for tuition fees and £7,000 a year for living costs, so the new policy could save graduates up to £40,000 in student loan repayments.
To encourage the best-qualified teachers to stay in the classroom, loans would be paid off gradually for as long as recipients were teaching. Those who left the profession would have to pick up the remainder of their own debts again.
The government currently offers £3,000 ‘golden hello’ payments to teachers in maths and science.
To encourage more entrants into teaching from the professions Cameron will also promise to replace the existing Graduate Teacher Programme with a new “Teach Now” scheme for professionals who want to change careers.
“Only the best professionals with the best qualifications need apply,” he will say, promising that entrants will be “put straight into a school” to train.