Teacher bursaries are a £22m waste of money, says Labour

Labour has accused the government of squandering taxpayers’ money on bursaries of up to £25,000 and beyond to attract top graduates into teaching, many of whom then fail to take up teaching posts. The Guardian reports.

According to Labour analysis of Department for Education (DfE) data, trainee teachers awarded the highest bursary of £25,000 and above were the least likely to end up in a teaching post, compared with those on smaller bursaries or no financial incentive at all.

Eighty per cent of postgraduate teacher trainees awarded the £25,000-plus bursary were teaching in state-funded schools in 2015-16 after qualification, compared with 89% of those who received no bursary. Of those awarded the lowest-value bursaries of less than £5,000, 90% were in a teaching post.

The 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.

The bursaries offered by the DfE depend on qualifications and subject, and are among a number of measures being used by the government to address the teacher recruitment crisis in the UK and increase the quality of teachers.

According to Labour analysis, in 2015-16 nearly £22m was spent on bursaries for trainees who did not go on to take up a teaching post.

The analysis comes as the education secretary, Damian Hinds, prepares to launch the government’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy.

Official statistics published in November revealed the government had missed its teacher training targets in most secondary school subjects.

The schools standards minister, Nick Gibb, said: “Our bursaries and scholarships are not just an exercise in increasing teacher numbers.

“They are specifically tailored so that we attract the right candidates for certain vital subjects and developed with bodies such as the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry.”

The DfE is testing new financial incentives for mathematics teachers – who are in particularly short supply – including upfront bursaries of £20,000 and a maths scholarship worth £22,000. These are followed by two additional payments of up to £7,500 to encourage talented maths teachers to stay in the profession.

Read the full article Teacher bursaries are a £22m waste of money, says Labour

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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