Teacher trainees across a range of subjects will receive tax-free bursaries for the first time if they have a 2:2 degree, the government has announced.
The increased financial incentives for trainees represents the government's latest attempt to address the teacher-recruitment crisis.
The announcement this morning came as new Ucas figures revealed a drop in teacher-training applicants this year of 1.7 per cent (45,390 applications by 17 September, compared with 46,190 at the same time last year).
- From next year, trainees in design and technology with a 2:2 or higher will receive a £12,000 bursary. This year, only trainees with a first-class degree received £12,000, while those with a 2:1 were given £9,000, but bursaries were not available for those with a 2:2.
- For history, a £12,000 bursary will be on offer for trainees with a 2:2 or higher; this year, trainees in these subjects with a first-class degree received £9,000, while those with a 2:1 got £4,000.
- For RE and music, a £9,000 bursary will be on offer for trainees with a 2:2 or higher; this year, trainees in these subjects with a first-class degree received £9,000 and those with a 2:1 got £4,000.
The changes will come into effect for those starting initial teacher training in 2019-20, with existing bursaries in other subjects – physics, languages, chemistry, biology, computing, geography and classics – remaining at £26,000 for those with a 2:2 or higher.
Scholarships will continue to be available for trainees in certain subjects, and the government said it was increasing funding for the postgraduate teaching apprenticeship, which would increase by £2,000 per trainee in all subjects.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “We have today set out details of a range of generous bursaries and scholarships, developed with bodies such as the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry. We are also increasing the bursaries in subjects such as history and D&T to help us bring in more talented individuals.
“I’m confident that these packages, along with the work we are doing to tackle workload and support teachers in the early years of their career, will help to underline this government’s determination to support the teaching sector and ensure it remains a rewarding and fulfilling career.”
The expansion of bursaries to lower-attaining graduates is a sign of the severity of the teacher-recruitment crisis, with a Tes analysis showing that an estimated 47,000 more secondary teachers will be needed by 2024 to cope with an explosion in pupil numbers.
Increasing financial incentives to teachers with a 2:2 could prompt concerns that the government was lowering the bar. In 2010, the Commons Education Select Committee recommended that, eventually, only individuals with a 2:1 or above should be able to apply for teacher training.