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Conservatives pledge ‘forgiveness’ of teacher student loans

Conservative manifesto promises 'forgiveness' on student loan repayments to 'help new teachers remain in the profession'

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Conservative manifesto promises 'forgiveness' on student loan repayments to 'help new teachers remain in the profession'

The Conservatives have promised relief on teacher’s student loans in a bid to improve teacher recruitment and retention.

In their manifesto for the general election, the party says it wants “great people to become teachers, teach in our most challenging schools and stay there”.

“To help new teachers remain in the profession, we will offer forgiveness on student loan repayments while they are teaching and bring in dedicated support to help them throughout their careers,” it adds.

The manifesto promises to keep “bursaries to attract top graduates into teaching”.

It pledges greater help for teachers in the “preparation of lessons and marking”, including through the use of technology, and to “bear down on unnecessary paperwork and the burden of Ofsted inspections”.

The party also proposes a jobs portal for schools to advertise vacancies and "help them find the best teachers".

Five-year plan

Boosting teacher recruitment and retention by providing relief on student debt has been proposed by a number of education organisations recently.

It has been championed by the Association of School and College Leaders, as well as John Cater, vice-chancellor of Edge Hill University.

Earlier this month, Teach First suggested up to 50 per cent of student debt should be cleared after five years for any new teacher working in challenging areas or shortage subjects such as science and maths. 

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We are pleased to see that the Conservatives are promising ‘forgiveness’ on student loan repayments to help attract people into teaching.

"This is a suggestion made by ASCL. Our proposal is that the government should commit to pay off the annual repayment of tuition fee and maintenance loans owed by teachers for as long as they remain in the state school system.

"The loan could be written off entirely after a certain period, for instance ten years. We believe that this approach would help to address the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis, although other actions will also be needed."

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