From education to employment

Teach First offers support to autumn trainees to combat cost-of-living crisis

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Education charity Teach First is testing a pilot scheme to give its autumn intake of trainee teachers additional financial support to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

The scheme is designed to make it financially possible for high-quality graduates from all backgrounds to start careers in teaching in the areas where they are most needed, after a large increase in requests from school leaders.

The trainees will be offered a one-off grant of £2,000 if they relocate to take up a place in Teach First’s Autumn Institute, which begins the charity’s teacher training programme in September. 

And trainees who decide to commute rather than relocate will be eligible for a grant of £1,000, provided it costs them more than £150 a month to commute to their employment school. 

Trainees are also paid a salary from their first day of teaching and will have access to the charity’s Hardship Fund if they should need it.

Teach First CEO Russell Hobby said:

“We’ve had a huge influx of requests from schools for our trainee teachers, many in more isolated parts of the country. We wanted to find an additional way of helping, particularly because of the cost-of-living crisis impacting people’s career decisions. 

“Through this small pilot scheme, we want to help address the financial barriers graduates are facing to training as teachers in schools in low-income areas, enabling them to start the Training programme with us and relocate or commute to the schools that need them most.”

Headteacher David Oakes, of The Regis School, a Teach First partner school in Bognor Regis in West Sussex, said:

“Schools like ours have pockets of real deprivation, and support pupils and families who at times face incredible and genuine challenges. Social problems within Bognor Regis can be overwhelming, so attracting new and ambitious teachers into the area is hugely important and highly impactful. 

“It would make a world of difference if we had access to financial support for new teachers, that supported them either with their relocation, or commute into Bognor Regis from surrounding areas in Sussex. This would ease the stresses of paying off their graduate loans, help them to pay their bills, and allow them to truly imbed themselves into our wonderful school.”

While the job satisfaction in teaching is unrivalled by any profession, a combination of factors has created a “perfect storm” in teacher recruitment in secondary schools. 

Rising rents and house prices and inflation hovering above 8% have contributed to a cost-of-living crisis, while a strong job market and increased flexibility, such as working from home, have made other sectors more attractive.

Trainees can only apply for one of the two grants. It is expected that if a trainee relocates, they should move to somewhere from where they can afford their commute to their school.

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