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Sector news, 16 - 22 February 2014

Bursaries for teaching FE maths a misplaced incentive 19 February, 2014

Kirstie Donnelly, UK managing director of the awarding body City & Guilds Group, has written an article for about the announcement by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) that they will over a £7,500 bonus for graduates who teach maths at a further education college. The £20m injection is in response to the need of maths teacher in further education. Joy Mercer of the AoC said there is a shortfall of 2000 maths and English teachers right now. But Ms Donnelly has written that while the government might have the best of intentions, she questions whether just because a graduate is a good mathematician they will be good at teaching secondary or GCSE maths in a contextualised situation. She says the focus should be on upskilling the current workforce by training them to teach maths for their given subjects. Someone who is already in the sector and has the knowledge and experience in their subject area will be far more likely to stick around.

OFT warns universities about sanctions on students in debt Guardian, 18 February 2014

The Office of Fair Trading has written to more than 170 universities and other higher education groups warning that the widespread practice of stopping students graduating or continuing with their course if they owe money over issues such as late library books or childcare services could breach consumer laws. The OFT investigated the issue after a complaint from the National Union of Students (NUS) and found that about three-quarters of institutions had terms and conditions for students that could stop them graduating or moving to the next year of their course over unpaid non-tuition fee debts. The OFT says it will work with Universities UK, the representative body for universities, to "encourage increased awareness and compliance with the law".