We ask the Government to avoid disadvantaging PGCE students and rethink the removal of ITT bursaries

The NSEAD Special Interest Group, together with partner organisations, have asked the Government to avoid disadvantaging trainee teachers, and rethink the removal of ITT bursaries for arts and design and humanities subjects.

Our community of initial Teacher Educators, together with partner arts organisations, believe the removal of bursaries (for all arts, D&T and specific humanities) is divisive and will economically disadvantage trainee teachers. See our News report, 13 October.

For many years art and design has not hit its Government-set teacher supply target (only 69% of art and design trainees were recruited in 2019-20), and despite an anticipated increased uptake for all subjects this year, we believe training to teach without a bursary will disadvantage trainees, and many will simply not be able to pay for the training. Today, we have written to Nick Gibb, asking him to review this policy:


Dear Nick Gibb


It is with great disappointment that we have learned that subject bursaries for PGCE art and design trainees will be removed 2021-22. For the first time, this year only (2020-21), our subject trainees were awarded a bursary. This has ensured applicants can join the profession irrespective of their economic background or means. 

The Department for Education’s ITT funding announcement, 13 October, identifies a number of subjects where bursaries are withdrawn for 2021-22. This includes Art and Design. The withdrawal of bursaries will be hugely detrimental to our subject and to the next generation of teachers. Without a bursary, in 2019-20, our subject was able only to recruit 69 percent of its teacher supply target (TST) and we experienced a nationwide 31 percent shortfall of art and design NQTs. In the same year Classics recruited by over 260 percent and Biology by 175 percent. We cannot reconcile and do not believe it is fair that some subjects that historically over recruit are awarded bursaries whilst others, that under recruit, have their bursaries removed.

In this exceptionally challenging academic year, when all subjects will have seen an uptake in applications, the withdrawal of the bursary will be deeply disappointing to many potential students. Training to teach without a bursary will disadvantage our trainees with many outstanding recruits so economically disadvantaged by the policy that they simply cannot apply. This is compounded by the fact that our subject has only received a bursary for one year, in comparison to other subjects, which simply reinforces the low status placed on our subject. 

Whilst we understand that this ruling applies to all arts, D&T and humanities subjects (apart from Classics and languages) it is no less of a blow. To avoid disadvantaging any student, we implore the Government to rethink this policy and to put in place adequate and fair bursaries. We ask this not only for our subject trainees but for all the trainees who will be disadvantaged by next year’s bursary allocations and removal of funding.


Yours sincerely


Michele Gregson, General Secretary NSEAD

Dr Rachel Payne, President NSEAD

Dr Emese Hall, Vice president (Special Interest Group Initial Teacher Education) NSEAD; 

On behalf of the NSEAD Special Interest Group for Initial Teacher Education


And the following signatories:

Liz Macfarlane, NSEAD President Elect and Education Consultant

Sandra Booth, CHEAD (Council for Higher Education Art and Design)

Nicky Dewar, Crafts Council

Elizabeth Crump and Samantha Cairns, Co-Directors, Cultural Learning Alliance

Bob and Roberta Smith OBE RA, NSEAD Patron, artist

Dr Janina Ramirez, NSEAD Patron, Art Historian

Cornelia Parker, OBE RA, Artist

Dennis Atkinson Professor (Emeritus), Goldsmiths University of London

Dr Claire Penketh, Associate Lecturer, Head of Disability Studies, Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS), Liverpool Hope University  Liverpool Hope University

Will Grant, Senior Lecturer, Art and Design ITE, UWE Bristol

Greg Shilton, Senior Lecturer and Pathway Leader Secondary Art and Design, University of Wolverhampton

Sally Johnson, Senior Lecturer PGCE Art and Design, University of Brighton

Neil Walton, Subject Leader PGCE Art and Design, Goldsmiths, University of London

Christine Ryan, Senior Lecturer University of Cumbria

Tabitha Millett, Subject Lecturer Art and Design PGCE, University of Cambridge

Pauline Wood, Artist Educator

Susanna Wallis, Artist, maker, educator and author

Dr Sophie Cole, Director of Education and Programme leader PGCE art and design, Northumbria University

Katie Leonard, Lecturer of Secondary ITE, PGCE Art and Design Award Leader, Staffordshire University

Georgina Spry, Joint Arts co-ordinator , Senior Lecturer, University of Chester

Susan Coles, Visiting lecturer UK PGCE courses as Arts, Creativity and Educational Consultant


If you would like to add your name, organisation or HEI, to the list of signatories, please email sophieleach@nsead.org