Labour: Teach in poor areas and we’ll slash your tuition fees

By Charles Maggs

Labour is promising a 'new deal' for teachers which will include cutting tuition fees for those who work in poorer areas.

Stephen Twigg unveiled a raft of radical proposals to change the way teachers are recruited, with a view to turning teaching into an "elite profession".

"The key to 'One Nation' education is not the type of school but what happens in the classroom. Our education system is only as good as its staff," the shadow education secretary said.

"The best countries in the world for education see teaching as an elite profession for top graduates."

He explained how Labour will make teacher training more flexible to allow a greater number people to complete Masters degrees before qualifying.

Twigg also proposed doubling the number of 'teach first' recruits to 2,000. Teach first is a scheme that looks to get more inspirational professionals from other areas into teaching in deprived schools.

A 'teacher taster' scheme will also be put forward, where people who are considering a career in education will get firsthand experience of teaching before committing to the profession.

A National College of Teaching Excellence will also be created as a guarantor of quality training with a view to every teacher showing improvements year-on-year.

"Take teacher recruitment. In England we consider it a success when we fill every vacancy. But in Finland and South Korea, there are ten applicants for every place," Twigg said.

"We have the best generation of teachers ever. But it can be even better.

"We will establish a 'new deal' for Teachers. New rewards, and new entitlements to training."

Many in Labour have a soft spot for the shadow education secretary ever since his astonishing victory over former Tory big Whig Michael Portillo which was one of the enduring moments of their 1997 landslide election victory.