Larger financial incentives for training are announced, but many want a greater focus on keeping teachers in the profession

Chemists with a 2:1 or 2:2 can receive £6k more to train as a teacher in England next year. Nick Gibb, minister for school standards, told the TES:

From 2018, we are increasing funding across all high priority subjects and we will continue to offer generous bursaries and grant funding to ensure teaching remains an attractive profession for top graduates

Nick Gibb

The government say they want top graduates to join the profession, but bursaries from the Department for Education for chemistry will be £26k regardless of undergraduate classification in a bid to further boost recruitment.

The increase on last year is even bigger for biology and English, leaving previous recruits feeling their timing could have been better.

Money isn’t the only sweetener

Alternatively, chemists can apply for a £28k scholarship from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Scholarships aren’t just about the money: scholars also receive professional development training courses, mentoring and classroom materials. 2017/18 scholarship recipient Blessing told RSC News:

The financial support is obviously very beneficial and then all the hands-on practical support and the mentor meetings really help a lot

Will they leave again?

The announcement of incentives to train raises concerns about the lack of incentives for new teachers to stay in the profession. A recent report by Education Datalab highlighted this as a particular problem for science teachers:

The odds of newly qualified science teachers (NQTs) leaving their first school within five years are 35% higher than otherwise similar non-science NQTs

Education Datalab

Similar sentiments have been expressed in Scotland, as the SNP announced a bid to tackle teacher shortages with £20k bursaries for people to change career.

Will new train and remain incentive for maths be adopted for science?

Next year the bursary for trainee maths teachers will increase, but part of it will be held back until their third and fifth years of teaching. It will be interesting to see if offering some bursary as a retention incentive encourages maths teachers to stick it out. And if the approach will be adopted for other subjects, like chemistry. Or, will the lower initial rate just put people off?