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Graduates with 2.2 degrees are given £12,000 ‘bribe’ to teach subjects including RE and music 

Graduates with 2.2 degrees who train to become history, RE, music and design and technology teachers will receive bursaries for the first time.

The Department for Education yesterday revealed an extension of its financial incentive scheme to ‘help attract the best and brightest’ into classrooms.

But education experts said it was being forced to ‘lower its sights’ due to problems attracting applicants to the profession amid a recruitment crisis.

The scheme was announced as new UCAS figures showed a drop in teacher training applicants this year. There were 45,390 by September 17, compared to 46,190 at the same point last year, a 1.7 per cent decline.

From next year, trainees in history with a 2.2 or higher will get a £12,000 bursary. This year, only students with a first-class degree received £9,000 and those with a 2.1 were given £4,000.

Trainee teachers with 2.2 degrees can get government bursaries of up to £12,000 from next year as part of a recruitment drive to more history, RE, music and design specialists into the profession

For design and technology trainees with a 2.2 or higher, a £12,000 bursary is also on offer. Currently only those with a first-class degree received £12,000 and trainees with 2.1s got £9,000. 

In RE and music, a £9,000 bursary will be available for trainees with 2.1s or higher. This year trainees in these subjects with first-class degrees received £9,000 and those with a 2.1 got £4,000.

The changes will come into effect for those starting initial teacher training in 2019-20.

Bursaries in physics, languages, chemistry, biology, computing, geography and classics remain at £26,000 tax-free for trainees with a 2.2 or higher.

School Standards Minister, Nick Gibb, said: ‘I’m confident that these packages, along with the work we are doing to tackle workload and support teachers in the early years of their career, will help to underline this government’s determination to support the teaching sector and ensure it remains a rewarding and fulfilling career.’

But Professor Alan Smithers, of the Centre for Education and Employment Studies at Buckingham University, said: ‘The government is rowing back on its aim of attracting those with good degrees into teaching through generous bursaries.

‘Recruitment difficulties mean they have been extended to those with just 2.2s. It’s concerning because it highlights once more the sheer difficulty in getting high quality teachers.’