Will a “short-term view” on teacher training incentives impact the longer term?

In October the Department for Education (DfE)

published its ‘Funding: initial teacher training (ITT), academic year 2021 to 2022’ announcement, which revealed that postgraduate ITT bursaries for all eligible subjects have been reduced or scrapped altogether amounting to a near 50 per cent cut from this year’s £130 million budget. In 2020-21 chemistry, computing, maths,

physics, biology, languages and classics trainees could all apply for bursaries of £26,000. But the picture is very different for 2021-22, when bursaries for chemistry, computing, maths and physics trainees will be reduced to £24,000, while languages and classics students will be eligible for just £10,000. Meanwhile, bursaries for biology trainees will


n our first feature this month, we’re delighted to hear from Emma Hollis,

Executive Director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), the body which promotes high- quality school-led programmes of training, education and professional development of teachers. Emma discusses the DfE’s October ITT funding announcement and warns that the cuts it outlines, and the short-term view the government has taken, will only store up problems in teacher recruitment for the future.

be slashed to £7,000, less than a third of this year's allowance. The remainder of subjects eligible for bursaries this year will be excluded in 2021-22. This includes geography, design and technology, English, art and design, business studies, history, music, religious education, and primary with maths. Scholarships have also been cut. This year,

chemistry, computing, languages, maths and physics trainees could apply for £28,000, while geography trainees were eligible for £17,000. But for 2021-22 scholarships have been cut altogether for languages and geography trainees, and reduced to £26,000 for chemistry, computing, maths and physics. We are concerned by the messages that the

disparity in bursary funding levels sends out in terms of the relative worth of different subjects


and phases of teaching. The lack of bursary funding for primary and a whole range of secondary subjects is also likely to have an adverse effect on social mobility, with many groups of potential applicants unable to pursue a career in teaching due to the lack of financial support available to them. We are potentially cutting off huge parts of society from considering teaching. However, from our perspective, we are

particularly disappointed by the decision to remove School Direct salaried funding for primary. Schools – some of which rely on these grants for their entire financial model – now face tough decisions. They are going to have to look really closely at their financial model and make decisions about whether they can switch to a tuition fee model (but unlike the salaried route, this model does not allow for the trainees to take on paid teaching responsibilities in school), or schools are going to have to dig deeper into their pockets and find ways to pay for it. The tuition fee model relies on candidates who can afford to forfeit a salary for a year during training whilst also incurring additional student debt. Whilst the current financial situation faced by

government is an unprecedented one – and we recognise the Treasury has a difficult decision to make on budgets – we are disappointed that a short-term view has been taken on financial incentives designed to attract the best quality candidates into our classrooms. We have consistently pointed out that recruitment to primary is problematic in many areas of the country and, whilst the Teacher Supply Model

November 2020

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