BURSARIES of £20,000 are to be offered for those wishing to change career and become a teacher in priority science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

The new bursaries are the latest in a series of measures the Scottish Government is taking to recruit more teachers and develop Scotland’s capacity in so-called Stem subjects.

School subjects which will be eligible for the bursaries are maths, computing science, physics and technical education, but these will be reviewed each year according to need.

The move comes after it was revealed that there were 700 teacher vacancies in Scotland at the start of the school year with particular shortages in rural areas and Stem subjects.

Announcing the bursaries at the SNP conference in Glasgow John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary, said: “We have founded our education reforms on faith in our teachers, but in schools in some parts of our country and in some subjects have a shortage of teachers.

“Stem subjects are crucial, not just to the education of our children, but the future of our economy. We need to recruit more teachers in these subjects.

"To do that we need to reach beyond recent graduates and attract people who have the appropriate subject degree, but are working in business or industry."

Mr Swinney said the bursaries would make it easier for "career-changers" to move to teaching.

He added: "I can therefore announce that, from next year, we will offer bursaries of £20,000 per person to help them make the change."