Student fee deal for teachers hint

Salisbury Journal: Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg wants top performing students to train as teachers Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg wants top performing students to train as teachers

Top-performing students could have some of their tuition fees paid off by the taxpayer in return for becoming teachers in deprived areas of the country under plans being drawn up by Labour.

The incentive scheme is part of a package of reforms described by shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg as a "New Deal for Teachers", including a doubling in size of the Teach First scheme.

In an echo of Ed Miliband's bid to highlight his state comprehensive education in his party conference speech, Mr Twigg will praise the teacher who inspired him to be the first from his school to go to Oxford University.

And he will say that in order to apply the Opposition leader's newly-adopted "One Nation" philosophy to education requires a reversal of the Government's "out of date and backward looking" policies.

Addressing the final day of the Manchester gathering, he will warn that if the Government introduces regional pay in public services, it could result in teachers in the "toughest schools in the toughest neighbourhoods" getting lower pay.

That would undermine the need to make teaching - as in Finland and South Korea -"an elite profession for top graduates".

Instead graduates should be offered financial rewards to take on those jobs, he will say, such as the debt write-off scheme.

With the party desperate not to be seen to be making unaffordable spending promises however - and with Nick Clegg's apology for doing so to students over not raising tuition fees still fresh in the mind - the idea remains an aspiration.

Mr Twigg wants to pilot the project, perhaps even before the general election via Labour-run councils, but admits there is "a lot of work to do" to draw up detailed figures on how much debt would be covered or how many schools would be included.

Teacher numbers have fallen by 10,000 in one year under Education Secretary Michael Gove, he will tell delegates, as he outlines a range of ideas to raise both the number and quality of entrants to the profession and to improve classroom standards.

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