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Published: 23rd May 2019

From: Adi Bloom @ TES

Teachers in Opportunity Areas in the first five years of their careers will receive the bonus grants in 2019 and 2020

Thousands of maths and physics teachers around the country are to receive two £2,000 bonuses, to encourage them to stay in the profession.

Early careers teachers in these subjects will receive these payments in addition to existing bursaries, it was announced today.

Maths and physics teachers in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, as well as in Opportunity Areas around the country, will receive the grant during the first five years of their careers.

Backed by a £10 million investment set aside from last year’s Budget, the two-year pilot will test whether this is an effective way to encourage these teachers to remain in the profession.

Teacher retention

Eligible teachers will have their payments issued to them in the autumn terms of 2019 and 2020. They will receive a single payment in each year.

The scheme is based on evidence from the Gatsby Foundation and the Education Policy Institute, which highlights the effectiveness of such retention payments.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “We want to make sure that we can continue to attract and keep the brightest and best graduates, particularly in subjects where specialist knowledge and expertise are vital to the future success of the economy.”

‘Systemic issues of pay, workload and funding’

The pilot runs alongside government plans to offer retention-based payments to those teachers who stay in the profession, by staggering additional payments throughout the first years of their career.

The aim is to further support teachers, as part of the government’s £72 million Opportunity Area programme. Opportunity Areas are regions of the country where the Department for Education is attempting to improve social mobility for pupils.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU teachers’ union, said that he was sure that maths and physics teachers would appreciate the extra pay.

However, he added: “It is clear that the education secretary is determined to avoid a root-and-branch solution to the recruitment and retention crisis.”

He pointed out that very few subjects are hitting their teacher-training targets, which has a cumulative effect.

“Today’s announcement focuses on some areas of the country, which simply means that the overall shortages will impact more heavily on other areas,” he said.

“[Education secretary] Damian Hinds continues to fiddle at the edges, while the real causes are in plain sight. There are systemic issues of pay, workload and funding, which must be addressed both urgently and comprehensively, if we are to get anywhere close to resolving teacher shortages in a sustained way.”

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