Boris Johnson’s only new policy in his Tory conference speech is a re-hash of one his government closed down last year, ministers have admitted.
The Prime Minister yesterday unveiled a “levelling-up” bonus worth up to £3,000 for young maths and science teachers who choose to work in disadvantaged areas.
But it soon emerged it resembled an “early-career payment” for maths, science and language teachers, which had shut to any teachers starting their training from 2022.
That scheme was worth up to £5,000 per teacher.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi today insisted the new version is “different and better” because teachers will be eligible for five years after training.
But he admitted it was a re-hash of an old policy, telling broadcasters: “When I see a recent policy that’s worked… I don’t have a problem with saying I’ll bring something back and improve it.”
Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green said: “The premium is a less generous recycling of an old policy that Boris Johnson ’s government scrapped just a year ago.
“Under the Conservatives teacher vacancies have more than doubled, school funding will be lower in real terms next year than it was in 2010 and the promised £30,000 teacher starting salary has still not been delivered.”
Mr Zahawi today insisted starting salaries will rise to £30k by the delayed date of 2023, and hinted there may be money coming in this month’s spending review.
Teachers in the first five years of their career will be able to claim between £1,000 and £3,000 for working in shortage subjects in worst-hit parts of the country.
A No10 spokeswoman could not say immediately which areas would benefit or how teachers would be selected, for instance if they have to move into the area from outside.
However, No10 said the scheme would be for maths and science teachers and cost £60million over three years it runs.
Tory conference 2021
A No10 spokeswoman said it was “new money”. She was unable to say how many teachers would benefit, or how it’d be decided who got the full £3,000.
It comes after Boris Johnson promised to “build back beaver” in a rambling conference speech full of dodgy gags and containing only one new policy.
As the nation grapples with supply shortages and rising costs of living, Mr Johnson spent 44 minutes delighting Tory activists with a string of jokes about disco-dancing cabinet ministers and his plans to return otters and beavers to the wild.
Speaking in front of a backdrop reading “Build Back Better, Getting on with the Job”, the Prime Minister offered no immediate solutions to the fuel crisis, supply chain woes to the Universal Credit cut.