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We are committed to recruiting high-quality graduates into teaching. We have seen an increase over the last five years in the proportion of new entrants who hold a first or upper second class degree, rising from 61% in 2009/10 to 73% in 2014/15.
For 2015/16, we have increased the postgraduate bursary from £20,000 to £25,000 for trainees with a first class degree training to teach mathematics, physics, computing, chemistry and modern foreign languages. Prestigious scholarship awards, of £25,000, are also available to outstanding graduates with a first or upper second class degree in mathematics, physics, chemistry or computing. We have supported the expansion of Teach First, which brings the highest quality graduates into challenging schools, by more than doubling the number of participants since 2010 and widening coverage of the programme to schools across England.
We also recognise the importance of teachers being able to develop and improve their practice throughout their careers. Improvement in teaching is most effective when it is led by the best teachers and the most successful schools, and when it is based on evidence. That is why we promote opportunities for teachers to learn from others and for schools to support other schools, for example through the growing Teaching Schools network. The government also remains committed to offering support to emerging plans for a profession-led College of Teaching to increase the status of the profession and take the lead in developing truly outstanding professional development and evidence-informed practice.