Wipe out teachers’ student debt after seven years, says thinktank

‘Forgivable fees’ for those who remain in profession among ideas for attracting more graduates amid shortage The Guardian reports.

New teachers should have their outstanding student debt wiped out after they have been in the profession for seven years, says a report on attracting more graduates into teaching.

The introduction of a policy of “forgivable fees” could mean a teacher who started work in their early 20s could be free of university tuition fee debt by 30.

The policy is one of a number of ideas put forward in a report by the Higher Education Policy Institute thinktank to help tackle a growing shortage of teachers, which experts warn is threatening the life chances of a generation.

The report, published on Thursday, says the current system of bursaries aimed at attracting graduate talent is not sufficiently effective and calls on the next government to think again.

Secondary schools are particularly badly affected and are struggling to recruit teachers in subjects such as physics and maths, with the problem being more acute in expensive commuter towns and villages, peripheral regions and coastal areas, says the report.

Nick Hillman, the director of Hepi, said policymakers were fond of meddling with teacher training and had recently tried to shift it out of universities into schools. “But the numbers speak for themselves: in every year between 2013 and 2016, teacher recruitment missed its targets,” he said.

John Cater, vice-chancellor of Edge Hill University and author of the report, added: “There are worrying signs that the profession is failing to attract enough entrants and failing to retain existing teachers in sufficient numbers.”

Read more Wipe out teachers’ student debt after seven years, says thinktank

With many teachers leaving the profession after a couple of years, would paying of student debt be enough of an intensive to make them stay over 7 years? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin

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