New teachers face debts of #163;10,000-plus

Newly-qualified teachers face debts of #163;10,000-plus which could take them 12 years to pay off, writes Clare Dean. A TES analysis of training costs reveals that this week's moves by the Government to offer "golden hellos" to maths and science teachers go only halfway towards solving students' financial problems.

The analysis shows that today's student maintenance loans would saddle new teachers outside London with debts of nearly Pounds 10,500 after four years' training - while those studying in the capital could be up to Pounds 12, 000 in the red.

David Hart, National Association of Head Teachers general secretary, said:

"These figures prove conclusively that young teachers don't stand a cat in hell's chance of paying off their debts in anything remotely approaching a reasonable time. They demonstrate one very good reason why we are failing to recruit good honours graduates into teaching and are proof positive that the Government's Green Paper (on modernising the profession) must provide much better career incentives."

The figures are based on loans available this year to students and exclude tuition fees - up to Pounds 1,000 annually. They almost certainly underplay the true training costs.

This year students have been able to claim grants of between Pounds 810 and Pounds 1,225 and maintenance loans of up to Pounds 3,145. Next year they will have to rely just on loans.

It is unlikely that the Government would introduce a system that offered less cash than the combined grant and loan - Pounds 4,370 in London for the full year and Pounds 3,545 elsewhere.

A guide to grants, loans and fees in higher education issued by the Department for Education and Employment says "Iany loan you still owe will usually be cancelled when you reach the age of 65."

'Sticking plaster', 5

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