The Department for Education have announced that from 2020-21 art and design trainee teachers will receive a bursary. This means that the trainee teachers of art and design (2020-21) will be eligible for a bursary of 9K – business studies, history, music and religious education trainees will receive the same. Since 2018 NSEAD has campaigned against inequalities in bursary allocations – we therefore welcome this announcement.
In October 2018 NSEAD first began to challenge the Government's bursary policy and disparity in subject allocations. In four communications with Nick Gibb MP, the Secretary of State for School Standards, we scrutinised data and presented evidence which showed how and why our trainee teachers were facing discrimination. Year on year the system has resulted in art and design trainees funding their own courses, whilst other subject trainees received bursaries and retention grants of up to £26,000. This was not acceptable and the change of policy, which is not before time, will be welcomed by our community and the next generation of teachers.
Michele Gregson, General Secretary of NSEAD says: ‘NSEAD and our committed membership have campaigned hard for a fair bursary for all teachers. Art and Design trainee teachers have suffered financial hardship and been undermined as professionals. This welcome news goes some way to addressing the inequity between subjects and recognising the value of our trainee teachers. We will continue to campaign on your behalf, addressing the allocation divide and inequitable retention grants.’
Dr Rachel Payne, President of NSEAD, chair of the NSEAD special interest group (SIG) for initial teacher education, said, ‘This change in policy has not come before time. Our campaign to address the inequality, started in 2018, has provided the DfE with independent and judicious evidence and data to highlight the discrepancies in the teacher supply model and wrongful prioritisation of some subjects over others. This change of policy is and will be widely welcomed.'
Whilst NSEAD does indeed welcome this news, we remain aggrieved and concerned that this year, as in previous years, our art and design trainee teachers are not receiving a bursary. It is not right or fair, that this current cohort, will be completing their course facing hardship. We also do not believe that inflated retention grants for some subjects will help the long-term retention of staff. This money would be better used to help schools support all new teachers giving them additional training and time to train. Retention grants for a handful of subjects does not represent value for money.
We are very grateful to our NSEAD ITE community who have tirelessly helped us to challenge the Government’s bursary policy. NSEAD remains our subject’s independent voice, and on this occasion our voice has been heard.