Funding for primary trainees slashed

Millions of pounds are being slashed from government funding available to trainee primary teachers, TES has learned, with experts warning that the cuts will fuel the growing school recruitment crisis.

From next year, thousands of trainees will receive thousands of pounds less in bursaries and salaries from the Department for Education than they would have last year. Cash-strapped schools said they would struggle to make up the shortfall, and the cuts are predicted to put people off joining the profession.

TES has calculated that the changes would affect more than half the entire annual cohort of primary teacher trainees, based on 2014-15 figures. They would also impact on some secondary trainees in computing – a subject already hit by shortages.

The unexpected move by the DfE has led to criticism from two government advisers.

Sir Andrew Carter, the primary headteacher who led the coalition government’s review of initial teacher training, said: “The government has to understand that if it is not careful, what will happen is you’ll get a lot of [recruits coming into] secondary schools and primary will be a problem.”

Dame Alison Peacock, a member of the government’s Commission on Assessment Without Levels, said: “We are already recruiting for 2016. This will impact on it.”

A DfE spokesperson said the “generous” bursary system was reviewed annually to ensure it targeted areas most in need. The primary recruitment target for 2015 had been exceeded, they added.

This is an edited version of an article in the 30 October 2015 edition of TES. To read the full article, subscribe to TES

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