By Judith Ugwumadu | 10 November 2014
New teacher training routes, which see student teachers learn on the job, can cost the government significantly more than traditional higher education-based routes, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found.
An IFS analysis found ‘remarkable variation’ in costs to central government across routes and according to trainee characteristics, such as degree subject and class and the location of the training.
Some university-based initial teacher training (ITT) courses the cost as little as £10,000, while for those taking the school direct unsalaried route for trainees in high priority subjects such as maths and physics, costs can rise to £42,000. This is because trainees are eligible for a bursary award or scholarship funding – which can have a 25% uplift – in addition to student finance.
Report author Ellen Greaves said it was important to be clear about the rationale for the current system of funding.
‘There is now a broad range of initial teacher training routes which may help ensure that a wide range of potential trainee teachers consider and train for the career. Importantly, our research finds that trainees from different routes are perceived by schools to be of largely similar “quality”.’
Chris Belfield, IFS research economist and co-author of the report, added: ‘Remarkably, under the new student loan system the government receives no repayment of the loan provided for a postgraduate ITT course from a typical teacher.
‘That fact may not be appreciated by those considering a career in teaching who may be put off by an apparent cost they will in fact be unlikely to bear.’
The IFS found that the most popular route into teaching was through higher education, with around 50% of trainees at primary and 60% at secondary level.
School-based direct salaried and unsalaried training schemes were the newest routes, training around 20% of trainees at secondary level in 2013/14.
The IFS analysis was conducted in conjunction with the Institute for Education and the National Foundation for Educational Research, with funding from the Nuffield Foundation.