Scholarships are decisive in bringing new blood into teaching, finds research


New research suggests that scholarships to train to teach shortage subjects have been successful at bringing people into the profession who would not otherwise have considered it.

One in four applicants for scholarships in shortage subjects said the award was the decisive factor in prompting them to train to be a teacher, according to a survey.

And one in five said they would not have applied if scholarships had not been available.

Students with a 2:1 or first in physics, maths, computing and chemistry are eligible for scholarships. The awards, offered by the professional bodies in each area, are worth £25,000 for trainees starting in 2015/16.

Smaller bursaries are also available in a range of subjects, which include languages, design and technology and religious education.

The scholarships were introduced in 2011 and the research, carried out for the National College of Teaching and Leadership, aimed to examine their impact on graduate recruitment.

And the findings of the survey of all applicants throughout the first three years of the awards – both successful and unsuccessful – suggest they have attracted new recruits into teaching.

Just over half of respondents said they already had an interest in teaching and planned to apply for teacher training even without the scholarships.

But 26 per cent agreed with the statement ‘I decided to apply for teacher training because of the availability of scholarships’, and 19 per cent of applicants said they would not have applied if scholarships had not been offered in their subject.

Among comments made by the applicants, one said: “Without a scholarship… I would not have been able to afford to support myself through the PGCE year”, while another said: “The scholarship is crucial for me because it gives additional financial support for my family while I am training.”

Applicants for computing scholarships were the most likely to be swayed by the existence of the awards.

The survey also found that 82 per cent of those whose scholarship application was unsuccessful still applied for teacher training.

Related stories: 

Training bursaries increased to £25,000 to tempt 'talented' graduates - 25 Sept 2014

STEM subjects face 'triple whammy' of pressure in recruiting teachers, MP says - 24 Feb 2014

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