Despite enjoying teacher bursaries worth up to £26,000 new graduates are less likely to land a job in a school when compared to an applicant without a bursary, a study reveals.
The first official analysis on teacher bursaries and their impact by the Department for Education looked at whether those graduates who get qualified teacher status take up a teaching job.
However, the findings have been published as part of a larger report into teacher supply and researchers say more evaluation work is needed.
Despite this, the initial findings are a disappointing endorsement for the efforts to use teacher bursaries to boost teacher recruitment.
11% of NQTs with a bursary never took up a teaching post
According to the official figures, which examined data between 2009 and 2016, around 11% of NQTs with a bursary never took up a teaching post, compared with 9% of trainees who did not have a bursary.
The report researchers highlight that other factors may have played a part in this take-up level including demand in the economy for graduates in some subjects.
For those who took up a larger bursary were also less likely to get into teaching with 90% of trainees whose bursary was less than £4,999 taking up a teaching post.
That compares with the 80% of trainees who did enter teaching after receiving a teacher bursary worth more than £25,000.
One national newspaper has calculated that the government has spent at least £44 million in a bid to attract graduates who then never enter the school classroom as a teacher.
However, this figure could be higher because their figures are based on the lowest teacher bursary of £4,000.
108,800 teacher bursaries were awarded
The report highlights that in the period analysed, 108,800 teacher bursaries were awarded and of those, 101,000 trainees qualified as teachers. From that figure, 11% had not worked in a state school since qualifying.
Though some will have entered independent schools particularly high achievers with physics and maths degrees who are being recruited outside of the profession.
Now the latest report could see a delay in some bursary payments being made until the trainee completes a period of teaching in the profession.
This move is currently being tested with the maths early career payment scheme which sees trainee teachers receiving a lower bursary of £20,000 but with payments of £5,000 after their third and fifth years of teaching in the state school sector.
The report states: “High-value teacher bursaries are targeted at subjects in which it’s difficult to recruit such as chemistry, physics, maths and biology with lower teacher bursary awards targeted generally towards history, English, design and technology.
‘High-value teacher bursary subjects’
“Graduates in a high-value teacher bursary subjects will typically be in demand elsewhere in the labour market, which could influence the likelihood of them withdrawing from their teacher training course.”
The report also highlights that of the teacher bursary recipients, 93% who trained as English teachers worked in state schools, for physics it’s 82% and for business studies it is 75%. However, the figure for classics is just 36%.
The schools’ minister, Nick Gibb, said: “Our scholarships and bursaries help attract people to the profession and are developed with bodies such as the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Physics to ensure we get the right candidates. We’ve increased teacher bursaries in certain subjects, including design and technology and history.”