Chemistry teachers encouraged with new scholarships
The Department for Education has announced the creation of around 130 new scholarships in chemistry to attract graduates into teaching the subject.
Under the programme, which is being led by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), any graduate with a 2.1 or first-class degree will be eligible to apply for one of the £20,000 scholarships on a chemistry Initial Teacher Training (ITT) course.
The RSC will work with teaching practice experts to award the prizes to candidates who display in-depth subject knowledge, enthusiasm for chemistry and potential to teach.
The relationship will then continue once the students have gone into teaching to formulate a group of "exceptional" chemistry teachers that will be part of a community of chemists in schools, universities and industry.
Michael Gove, the education secretary, said such initiatives were vital to making Britain's education system a world player.
"If we want to have an education system that ranks with the best in the world, then we need to attract the best people into the profession, and we need to give them outstanding training," he said.
Robert Parker, chief executive of the RSC, added that it was important for chemistry teachers to be graduates of the subject.
"The RSC always seeks to support teachers advancing the chemical sciences in education, not just because it is good for the students - it is also good for the country to have scientifically literate young people in all walks of life to raise Britain's industrial and commercial competitiveness in an increasingly competitive world," he said.
Sir Harry Kroto, Francis Eppes professor of chemistry at Florida State University and a joint recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, said it was "vital that we nurture an overall population which understands technology and is aware of scientific ways of thinking".