The reductions in Initial Teacher Training bursaries announced today have taken the sector by surprise – they are certainly more radical than I anticipated. Of course, we are all hopeful that a small silver lining of the recession will be more applications to teaching; but we've not yet seen how retention will play out in schools - the frontline of the pandemic.
This is not an easy time to be going into the classroom. Now, more than ever, it is more important that we recruit the best people and those most suited to the demands of the profession.
The risk in cutting bursaries so swiftly and so drastically is that the pool of people able to consider teaching reduces for people at every stage of life. The other risk is that people apply and keep it as a back-up, but will drop out if something better paid comes up.
If we are not careful we will squander the few silver linings Covid has given us. My twitter feed is already alive with people who no longer feel able to become a teacher.
Some of the young will be able to live at home, but many won't without earning. Some of the older group might be able to rely on savings, but many support children and elderly parents and will not.
Now Teach recruits and supports experienced career changers joining the profession. Bursaries are critical for them. It is crucial that as a sector we all work together to recruit the widest diversity of skills, experiences and backgrounds.
Everyone recognises that the funding decisions the government is making right now are extraordinarily tough. But my fear is that these cuts could prove to be too much too soon; this generation of children need the very best teachers we can give them.
There are three types of funding available for teacher training - depending on your circumstances, you could receive all three:
1. Tax-free bursary or scholarship
2. Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan
3. Additional financial support if you’re a parent, have an adult dependent or have a disability
For more information on the the financial offer for 2021/22, visit Get into Teaching.
It is crucial that as a sector we all work together to recruit the widest diversity of skills, experiences and backgrounds.