Recruitment and retention

DfE ‘inexplicably’ cuts back £10k teacher ‘relocation premium’

Grant to cover visa and health surcharge will only be available to qualified teachers and not trainees from next year

Grant to cover visa and health surcharge will only be available to qualified teachers and not trainees from next year

Trainee languages and physics teachers from overseas will no longer be eligible for a £10,000 relocation payment next year, in a move branded “inexplicable” during a recruitment crisis.

The international relocation payment pilot was launched in September for those applying to train in England to become language or physics teachers, as well as established teachers in those subjects wanting to join the country’s profession.

Payments were supposed to be available in both the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years, to cover the cost of visas, the immigration health surcharge and relocation.

However, the Department for Education said today that only established teachers, already qualified in their country, will be eligible for the scheme next year. The payment will also be made in two £5,000 instalments in 2024-25.

James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), said: “This inexplicable decision will make it even more difficult to schools to recruit the languages and physics teachers they so desperately need.”

Last year, the government missed its secondary recruitment target by 50 per cent.

Move follows surge in overseas applications

A recent report from the National Foundation for Educational Research found policy changes, including relocation payments, helped generate a boom in applications from outside the UK in 2023-24.

This was seen particularly in physics, for which the number of applications was up 253 per cent on the previous year.

But the surge in applications “only led to a 41 per cent increase in acceptances, almost certainly because of a higher than average rejection rate”. There were just 13 per cent more physics enrolments.

The changes also applied to MFL applicants, sparking an 87 per cent increase in applicants, but this only translated to a 33 per cent increase in registrations

It forecast that subjects including MFL and physics were on “track for slight improvements in recruitment this year”.

Decision will affect existing applicants

Noble-Rogers added that “announcing the decision, as they also did when SKE funding was cut, part way through the current recruitment cycle will impact on many people who have already applied for ITE on the understanding that financial support will be available.

“Some are likely to have already had to spent money planning to move to England in order to train. Both decisions must cast doubt on the government’s commitment to tacking the teacher supply crisis.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “While our domestic strategy remains our priority, we are running a two-year pilot of the IRP and have recently adjusted the guidance for who can apply for this to ensure the best value for both the teacher workforce and the taxpayer.”

A government white paper previously said the pilot would “make teaching here even more attractive to the best teachers from around the world”.

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