'Big drop-off' in entrants predicted after bursary axe

25th February 2011 at 00:00

The axing of bursaries for most trainee teachers will "turn off the taps" of new entrants to the profession, unions and academics have warned.

Universities are "very worried" about education secretary Michael Gove's decision to withdraw financial support for those hoping to enter the classroom.

Mr Gove said the bursaries no longer offered value for money "in this time of fiscal restraint".

Bursaries in religious studies, music, PE, art, business studies, citizenship, history, dance and drama, worth #163;4,000-#163;6,000, have now been axed.

Only those studying physics, chemistry, engineering and maths will now get the full #163;9,000 bursaries. Biology, general science and modern foreign language students will get #163;6,000.

Chris Husbands, director of London University's Institute of Education, said: "Officials have clearly made a decision based on all the funding they have available. But this creates a risk that we might not be able to recruit enough trainees. I'm very worried."

Martin Freedman, head of pay and pensions for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said the decision would "turn off the taps" of new teachers.

"This will create shortages, it's a short-sighted and short-term view," he said.

"With tuition fees trebling, it's likely we will see a big drop-off. Those studying some subjects can earn much more in the private sector, so without a bursary why would they apply for teacher training?"

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