Open letter to the Secretary of State for Education from representatives of subject associations, November 3 2020

Posted by rsl11 at Nov 11, 2020 09:41 AM |
An open letter from members of the Council for Subject Associations, co-signed by the English Association
Open letter to the Secretary of State for Education from representatives of subject associations, November 3 2020

Council for Subject Associations logo

Dear Mr Williamson,

We are deeply concerned by the short-sighted decision to reduce and in many cases remove bursaries from trainees in a number of subjects and in primary teaching. Cutting off support conveys a strong signal as to the value of teaching in our society. Lack of financial support is likely to deter well-qualified and ambitious graduates due to these negative messages and potential hardship issues. Although we know that the size of bursary payments has always followed the economic cycle, making such an extreme change is likely to generate fresh problems in supply very quickly.  Potential applicants, with a strong commitment to teaching as a career, who are aware of how much money has been lost this year may well conclude that they would be better off waiting for a year or two until a bursary has been reinstated.  If providers struggle to recruit to target because of the complete lack of bursaries and cannot provide relevant subject routes within particular programmes as result, valuable expertise and productive partnerships will be lost from the system, making it difficult to build back quickly when further supply is needed (as it inevitably will be.)

Not all of those coming into teaching are 22-year-old graduates who are already accustomed to taking on large student loans to cover fees as well as living expenses. Many of the most effective teachers are those who have valuable life or work experience in diverse roles, enabling them to offer young people a richer and more informed view of the value of what they are learning within the curriculum. It is potential career-changers who are most likely to be deterred by the prospect of accruing substantial debts in order to train as a teacher.

All of us who have signed up to this letter understand that current economic pressures might make this appear to be a short-term option but the impact on the profession could have serious long-term implications.

Directors, CEOs and Chairs of the following subject associations have all signed up to this letter

Association for Citizenship Teaching

Association for Language Learning

Association for Physical Education

Association for Science Education

Association for the Teaching of Psychology

Classical Association

Computing at School

Design & Technology Association

Early Education

English Association

Geographical Association

Historical Association

Incorporated Society of Musicians

Joint Mathematical Association

Media Education Association

National Association for Educational Technology

National Association for Special Educational Needs

National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum

National Association for Teacher of Religious Education

National Drama

National Society for Education in Art & Design

One Dance UK

PSHE Association

National Association for the Teaching of English

Music Mark

UK Literacy Association

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