New analysis reveals training bursaries are failing to tackle teacher recruitment crisis

The TES is reporting that the DfE’s own figures suggest their bursaries (worth up to £30,000) are having a limited impact on teacher shortages.

…Despite a near tripling in the value of bursaries, there has been a 16 per cent drop in the number science trainees on courses eligible for the money – and a 15 per cent drop in equivalent maths trainees.

In 2011-12 there were 2,232 maths trainees and 2,732 science trainees. But by 2015-16 these annual figures had fallen to 1,888 and 2,289 respectively.

Teaching recruitment expert Professor John Howson said: “That doesn’t surprise me. The problem is, if you’re a good mathematician or physicist, the world is your oyster and you can get a starting salary over £30,000 within a year after university.”

The TES analysis has also revealed that the regional differences in recruitment for teacher training – which the National Audit Office has warned that the DfE has no systemic knowledge of – have widened over the last two years.

A DfE spokesperson said: “It is disingenuous to suggest that our approach is not working – despite the challenge of a competitive jobs market, the proportion of trainee teachers with a top degree has grown, faster than in the population as a whole, and there are more teachers overall…”

See more in the 19 February edition of TES.

More at Exclusive: new analysis reveals training bursaries are failing to tackle teacher recruitment crisis


Worrying but probably not a great surprise as a stronger economy is creating lots of viable alternatives to teaching for these very graduates.

What would you do to encourage more to join the profession?

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Categories: Policy and Teaching.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove With bursaries the size they are trainees have to take a pay cut when they accept their first post in school. Nonsensical

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Could I suggest the DfE’s “there is no crisis” attitude is a major part of the issue? Delusional, “pride laden” politics

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove At some point DfE will be forced into attempting to retain teachers who have survived so far; trouble is it will be too late

  4. northernteacher

    £30,000 is fine to train with, but it’ll take them a few years of teaching before they see that kind of money again.  With the way the teaching profession is permanently derided in the media, I’m surprised the situation isn’t even worse than it is!

  5. andylutwyche SchoolsImprove ‘Disappointed Idealist’ joins the ranks of those leaving teaching.  See explanation here:
    Will the DfE take note?  Not a chance – the spokesrobotperson will drivel on about the best-qualified teachers ever, the current SoS and ministers will drone on about ‘rigour’, rising standards, the ‘global race’ while teacher churn becomes as fast as a washing machine on maximum spin.

  6. edbentleymaths

    SchoolsImprove This is a retention crisis not a recruitment crisis. These bursaries will make that worse. Trainees w. no intention to teach

  7. HeadDurham

    SchoolsImprove perceptions of workload and difficulty of job won’t be outweighed by bursaries.Must work harder to convince greatness of job

  8. Nairb1

    The DfE responses to information such as this make me laugh. Do they employ people who train themselves by looking out of the window at pouring rain and then repeating ‘It’s a lovely sunny day, it’s a lovely sunny day’ over and over?

  9. poachermullen

    SchoolsImprove the point made by Prof Howson has been old news for 20 yrs. They need to make teaching compete financially. And they won’t!

  10. Ian_Crews

    SchoolsImprove what do you expect when they have to pay £9000 of that salary back in fees!My daughter has just applied and that is the cost

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