DfE hikes teacher training bursaries, but budget still £70m less than 2020

Increase in bursaries in shortage subject represents tacit admission slashing support last year was a mistake

Increase in bursaries in shortage subject represents tacit admission slashing support last year was a mistake

school funding

The government will increase teacher training bursaries and scholarships next year to attract new entrants to the profession amid a growing recruitment and retention crisis.

But the total funding on offer is still £70 million lower than it was in 2020 before bursaries were slashed.

The increase of some bursaries to £27,000 – the highest level since 2017 – will be seen as tacit admission that cutting incentives to the bone for 2021 entrants was a mistake.

It comes after analysis showed secondary subjects with the largest reduction in teacher bursaries attracted the fewest trainees in this year’s “grim” recruitment drive.

Ministers are likely to miss their secondary trainee teacher target for next year by a third, the ninth time in the past ten years that targets have been missed.

Maths, physics, chemistry and computing teachers entering teacher training in 2023 will attract £27,000 bursaries, £3,000 more than this year and 2021, and £1,000 more than in pre-pandemic 2020.

teacher bursaries

Alternatively, applicants with better degrees can get £29,000 scholarships in those subjects.

The bursary for modern foreign language teachers will increase from £15,000 to £25,000, though this is still lower than the £26,000 offered in 2020. Prospective French, German and Spanish teachers can alternatively get a £27,000 scholarship.

Geography bursaries will also increase from £15,000 to £25,000. Biology bursaries will rise from £10,000 to £20,000, while design and technology bursaries will increase from £15,000 to £20,000.

English, which did not attract a bursary in 2021 or 2022, will attract a £15,000 bursary.

However, bursaries that were offered in 2020 in history, art and design, music, business studies and religious education have still not been restored, despite the fact some of those subjects are expected to under-recruit.

Jack Worth, from the National Foundation for Educational Research, said “applying rule of thumb” to next year’s recruitment numbers, he would expect to see English, biology, chemistry and maths meet or exceed their targets as a result of the changes.

But physics, computing and design and technology would still be “way below targets”.

Teacher bursaries funding far below 2020 levels

The DfE said the package of support would cost £181 million, more than the roughly £130 million allocated in 2022 and 2021, but less than the £250 million pledged in 2020.

Schools minister Jonathan Gullis said: “As a former teacher, I know that investing in our teachers is investing in young people. These generous bursaries and scholarships will attract the brightest and the best into teaching.

“Shoring up the talent pipeline to teach vital subject areas such as STEM and languages will, in turn, equip young people with the knowledge and skills they need to secure a bright future, and ensure that our economy remains globally competitive.”

But Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL school leaders’ union, said the increase for some bursaries “only scratches the surface of the crisis”.

“The underlying issue is that salary levels are not competitive enough because of government austerity policies which have eroded the real value of school teachers’ pay by a fifth over the past decade.

“The government must work with the education sector on a strategic plan which deals with these systemic issues. At present, the majority of schools and colleges in England are struggling to put teachers in front of classes.”

An Institute for Fiscal Studies report yesterday found tens of thousands of teachers face being cut if the government sticks to its current plan of refusing to fund higher than expected pay rises.

School direct and apprenticeship grants confirmed

The DfE has also today confirmed today that grants for trainees on school direct (salaried) routes will be £27,000 for chemistry, computing, maths and physics, £25,000 for geography and languages, £20,000 for biology and D&T and £15,000 for English.

Grants for postgraduate teaching apprentices will be £18,000 for chemistry, computing, maths and physics, £16,000 for geography and languages, £11,000 for biology and D&T and £6,000 foe English.

The grants are to contribute to training and salary costs.

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