Initial Teacher Training bursary cuts

Posted by rsl11 at Oct 19, 2020 10:05 AM |
A statement from the EA and NATE regarding the cuts to Initial Teacher Training bursaries

The recent announcement of the cut in funding for trainee teachers for 2021-22 is devastating news for prospective trainees.  Trainee teachers in English, humanities subjects, PE and the arts will receive no funding to support their training as of next year.  English PGCE students have previously received bursaries of £15k, reduced to £12K this year, to contribute towards fees and living costs.

Whilst no clear justification has been provided, the prioritising of ‘shortage’ subjects (maths, science, computing) is very short-sighted.  Granted, there has been a surge in ITT applications (particularly in science and maths) this year, likely due to the economic effects of Covid-19, but this is not going to be a long-term trend that will solve teacher retention or address the rising numbers of pupils.

It is appalling that next year's cohort will receive nothing and will have to pay fees to train.  Not only will this mean overall recruitment will be down, it will actively restrict students who can't afford to train without the bursary - those with young children or those who have a mortgage/don't have a partner in full time work, for example.  They can access student loans to cover costs, but this could result in debts of over £20K.  The removal of the bursary will set back progress towards a profession that should more accurately reflect contemporary British society; a culturally, vocationally, and ethnically diverse and varied community.

It is also likely that the Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses ('top-up' courses for those who have degrees in subjects other than English) will have funding withdrawn, again, narrowing the pool of applicants.

English and English teachers are vital; sadly, this policy decision will destroy the opportunity of many passionate English specialists to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm to the next generation.  We can only hope that the government revisit and reverse this decision.

National Association of the Teachers of English | English Association

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