Branching out to STEM

A new teacher bursary for career changers.

Bursaries of £20,000 are to be created for those wishing to change career and become a teacher in priority science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subjects.

This new bursary is the latest in a series of measures the Scottish Government is taking to recruit more teachers and  in developing Scotland’s STEM capacity. 

School subjects which will be eligible for the bursaries are maths, computing science, physics and technical education but these will be reviewed each year according to need.

Announcing the bursaries, Deputy First Minister John Swinney, said:

“We have founded our education reforms on faith in our teachers.

“But in schools in some parts of our country and in some subjects we know we have a shortage of teachers.

“We have taken a range of actions to help councils tackle that problem and now I want to go further.

“STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths - are crucial, not just to the education of our children but the future of our economy.

“We need to recruit more teachers in these subjects. And to do that, we need to reach beyond recent graduates and attract people who have the appropriate subject degree but are working in business or industry.

“These ‘career-changers’ still need to go through initial teacher education before they can become teachers – we will never compromise on quality - but we can make it easier for them to make that career change.

“And because we understand that they have to balance family and financial responsibilities that new graduates may not face, we understand that the prospect of giving up a salary for a year while they do their teacher training is a real barrier for them.

“I can therefore announce that from next year we will offer bursaries of £20,000 per person to help them make the change.”


Bursaries will be available to career changers wishing to undertake an initial teacher education course in Scotland that leads to the award of registered teacher status in one of the specified subjects.  Applicants will be expected to have a relevant degree at a level of 2.1 or above with suitable subject content.   Minimum entry requirements for teacher education courses will also apply.  It is anticipated that the scheme will operate in partnership with local authorities and universities, and will be in place for recruitment to relevant teacher education courses starting in August 2018.


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