Published by: TES

Published on: 6th March 2020


Government says it does not intend to renew dataset, making it impossible to know how much money goes on trainees who don’t enter classroom.

The Department for Education has opted not to release latest figures revealing the cost of bursaries awarded to teachers who did not go on to work in the state sector.

Tes‘ analysis of the most recent statistics revealed that more than 11,000 teaching graduates who did not go on to work in state schools were awarded up to £123.6 million in tax-free bursaries over the course of seven years, between 2009-10 and 2015-16.

But it is impossible to know how much taxpayer’s money has been wasted on bursary payments since then, as the DfE has decided to alter the way it publishes the data.

Tes‘ analysis is based on the Teachers Analysis Compendium 4, published in September 2018, which contains details of the destinations of trainees awarded bursaries, and data that could be used to calculate the amount of money invested in the process.

The next publication in the series, the Teachers Analysis Compendium 5, was due to be published at the end of November last year, but the government cancelled the release – and has since said it will not replicate the analysis.

The DfE said last year that it would not be publishing the dataset because “we do not currently have any experimental statistics to publish in this format”.

This week, when asked whether it held more recent data that is directly comparable to the compendium, the DfE told Tes that analysis around the destination of trainees who receive bursaries is now regularly published in the initial teacher training performance profiles.

However, while this separate statistical release contains the number of trainees eligible for bursaries, it does not include an estimation of how many payments were actually awarded – and at what cost.

A DfE spokesperson said: “The data that was recorded in the compendium is not all being recorded and just listed individually – there are individual bits in there that won’t be available anymore in that exact format. In this case, we’ve just pointed you to the most relevant/closest thing possible, but have checked it with the team and that’s the best info they could suggest for you.”

A second spokesperson later added: “I can confirm that the department does not intend to replicate the analysis from the compendium.”

To date, the DfE has published four versions of the Teachers Analysis Compendium.

Each version has contained slightly different datasets, ranging from “an analysis of employment and mobility within the state-sector teacher workforce” to “an analysis of subnational variation in teacher supply and the factors that are used to explain this”.

However, both the 2018 and (unpublished) 2019 versions had the same description, relating to teacher recruitment and retention – suggesting that they would have contained the same, or similar, datasets.

A DfE spokesperson said: “Teacher training bursaries are designed to incentivise more applicants to train in the subjects that are hardest to recruit to. Trainees receive the bursary in full only if they complete the teacher training course.

“Of final year trainees in 2017-18 who were awarded qualified teacher status, 79 per cent eligible for a bursary were employed in a state-funded school in England while others may enter the classroom later in life.”

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