Thursday 10 January 2019 / 8:25 AM Angela Rayner / Education

Teacher training bursaries failing to keep “hard to recruit” teachers in the profession

Tories wasting taxpayers’ money as teacher training bursaries – worth up to £25k – are failing to keep “hard to recruit” teachers in the profession.

The Government is failing to recruit and keep top graduates in the teaching profession, according to Department for Education data.

Analysis of the data, published today by the Labour Party, shows that the teacher training bursary, designed to increase applications and boost the numbers of teachers in subjects where it is difficult to recruit trainees, is failing to recruit and keep top graduates in the profession.

Teacher trainees awarded the maximum bursary of £25,000 were almost twice as likely to end up not teaching in state funded schools after they qualified as their peers who were not awarded a bursary.

In 2015/16 just 80% of postgraduate teacher trainees awarded the maximum bursary of £25,000 were found teaching in state funded schools after they qualified, compared to 89% of trainees not awarded a bursary.

Labour analysis shows that in total nearly £22 million of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on bursaries for trainees who did not go on to take up a teaching post.

This analysis comes as teacher enrolment has reached “crisis” point, with the Government failing to meet its teacher training targets for the sixth consecutive year and teachers leaving the profession at the highest rate since records began.

£6 million was spent on bursaries worth at least £25,000 for students with First class degrees in Chemistry, Computing, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Language and Physics who did not go on to teach once they had qualified.

According to Department for Education data, the proportion of trainees found teaching in state funded schools after qualifying is inversely proportionate to the size of the state funded subsidy they received, with the number of trainees receiving larger bursaries less likely to go on to teach.

Commenting, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said:

“The Government’s strategy to deal with the teacher recruitment and retention crisis they have created is failing badly, and it is taxpayers who are paying the price for the failures of Tory Ministers.

“They have missed recruitment targets in six consecutive years and their inability to attract high achieving graduates to the profession is wasting taxpayers’ money and letting students down.

“Years of real terms pay cuts have made it impossible for schools to recruit the staff they need, and teachers are leaving the profession in record numbers. There is a generation of children paying the price for Tory failure in our schools.

“Through our National Education Service, Labour will invest in our schools and provide ring-fenced funding to give teachers the pay rise they deserve.”