Retention grants for newly qualified teachers in maths, science and languages “do not represent value for money”, according to an association for art and design teachers.
The National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) has criticised the government’s decision to provide certain NQTs with retention grants of up to £9,000 on top of their salaries, claiming the payments are “inflated” and won’t necessarily keep teachers in the job.
Viewpoint: 'Scientist or artist, we are all creative'
Next year will be the first time that new teachers specialising in chemistry, physics and modern foreign languages will receive such payments – as the Department for Education attempts to address teacher recruitment and retention issues. This will be in addition to the bursaries of the £26,000 they can claim for their initial teacher training years.
But many NQTs, including art and design teachers, are not eligible for retention grants.
Responding to the funding announcement, NSEAD questioned whether the “inflated retention grants” set aside for select subjects would boost the numbers of NQTs choosing to stay in the profession.
“We do not believe that inflated retention grants for some subjects will help the long-term retention of staff,” the society said.
“This money would be better used to help schools support all new teachers, giving them additional training and time to train.
“Retention grants for a handful of subjects do not represent value for money.”
The society welcomed the news that art and design trainees would be eligible for bursaries for the first time in 2020-21, but said its members “remain aggrieved and concerned” that the current cohort received no such grants, and might, therefore, be “facing hardship” while completing their course.
Michele Gregson, general secretary of NSEAD, said in a statement to members that the new bursary grants of £9,000 would go “some way to addressing the inequity between subjects”.
“NSEAD and our committed membership have campaigned hard for a fair bursary for all teachers,” she added. “Art and design trainee teachers have suffered financial hardship and been undermined as professionals.
“We will continue to campaign on your behalf, addressing the allocation divide and inequitable retention grants.”
A spokesperson for the DfE said: “On Saturday, we announced bursaries for teachers, along with the 2.75 per cent pay rise for all teachers and school leaders this academic year.
"We have also committed more than £250 million in financial incentives to encourage talented graduates to enter the classroom, and trainee teachers in art and design and business studies are also set to benefit from new bursaries of £9,000.
“Each year, we review bursaries to decide the offer for trainee teachers, tacking account of both recruitment to date and the future need for teachers in each subject.”