Physics, chemistry and language trainee teachers to get retention payments


Trainee chemistry teachers, physics teachers and modern foreign language teachers will get retention payments from next year, staggered across the first four years of their career.

They could receive up to £9,000 in addition to their £26,000 bursary payment under the new system of phased bursaries, as set out in the government’s teacher and retention strategy.

Trainee maths teachers will continue to receive extra early career payments, in a move that is designed to keep talented individuals in the education system.

New levels of financial support

Under the current set up, trainee teachers receive a £20,000 bursary in their training year and £5,000 of retention payments in their third and fifth year, a figure that rises to £7,500 in the most challenging schools.

However, from September 2020, the initial bursary for maths trainees will be £26,000, with a further £6,000 available in retention payments.

The same package will be available for chemistry teachers, physics teachers and modern foreign language teachers – marking the first time retention payments have been available to them.

Those teaching in particular areas of high need across these newly supported subjects could access retention payments of up to £9,000, bringing the total potentially available to £35,000.

Bursaries based on recruitment needs

Bursaries for several other subjects are set to decrease in the years ahead, based on current recruitment and future needs.

For instance, the Geography bursary has dropped to £15,000 from 2020, down from £26,000, while the figure available for both English and history has been reduced by £3,000 to £12,000 and £9,000 respectively.

Other subjects to see increases include art and design and business studies, where £9,000 bursaries are available for the first time, and a £3,000 jump for design and technology trainees.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said the changes should help to attract the “brightest and best talent” to the sector while ensuring that “those who stay in the classroom benefit most”.

The teacher recruitment and retention strategy, revealed in January 2019, promised a “fundamental shift” in how the bursary payment system works – the new payment structure is a step towards it.

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