NFER statement on Prime Minister's education announcement


Wednesday 4 October 2023

Commenting on Rishi Sunak's education announcement at the Conservative party conference, Jack Worth, School Workforce Lead at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) said:

“Further intervention to increase teacher supply in shortage subjects is desperately needed as recruitment and retention is a huge challenge for schools. Evidence suggests that early career payments are a cost-effective way to improve supply in shortage subjects.

“NFER has previously recommended that the Government should redesign levelling up early career payments by widening eligibility to all schools nationally and increasing payment generosity. The current scheme has a maximum value of £15,000 for teachers during their first five years, so a proposed £30,000 could have a real impact on teacher recruitment and retention. Although the Government needs to clarify which teachers would be eligible to receive this increased payment.

“This plan to end the denigration of technical education, while welcome in principle, is concerning, as T Levels were only launched as the new 'flagship' alternative to A Levels three years ago. Time is needed to allow these new qualifications to bed in and be evaluated in terms of their fitness for purpose. This announcement, during T Levels Week, must be demoralising not only for providers but on the young people who have already completed or are completing their T Levels. With the looming defunding of BTECs and other applied generals from 2024 onwards, this hardly presents a period of stability for post-16 education over the next 10 years.”