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Government incentives for becoming a teacher?

Published: Friday 24th August 2018

Primary school teacher sitting on a small table with 6 students


With the growing problem of teacher shortages, the UK government is offering more incentives than ever before for university students looking to train to become teachers. Three main types of funding support are available and, depending on the choice, of course, subject and personal circumstances, some students could be eligible for all three. These include:

  • Tax-free bursary or scholarship
  • Tuition fee loan and maintenance fee loan
  • Additional financial support if you’re a parent or have a disability

However, all have certain criteria to meet for eligibility.

Bursaries and scholarship

Firstly, it’s important to understand the difference between a bursary and a scholarship. Scholarships tend to be offered by prestigious educational institutions, as well as businesses, charities, trusts, and other organisations and are typically awarded based on academic merit. These can range from as little as £50 to thousands of pounds and there is nothing to stop you from applying to as many as you want to supplement a bursary or other income. Be aware, however, that you can’t apply for a university scholarship until you have been offered a place on a Masters course or other eligible post.

On the other hand, most students are eligible to apply for a teaching bursary once they’ve qualified from the university. You’ll need a good degree (1st, 2:1, or 2:2), PHD or Masters. A £20,000 bursary or £22,000 scholarship is available for those intending to teach Maths with an additional £10,000 available each year (known as an early career payment). Physics, chemistry, languages, history, and geography are eligible for a £28,000 scholarship, or a £26,000 bursary (also biology and classics).

Those seeking to teach English are eligible for a £16,000 bursary. Bursaries are lower still for those seeking to teach primary maths, history, music and D&T and are vary according whether you have a 1st degree/PHD, 2:1/Master’s or 2:2.

All bursaries are tax-free and paid in ten installments throughout the year.

Postgraduate support

There are tuition fees and maintenance loans available for postgraduate students looking to join a non-salaried teacher training course. These are available to all eligible postgrad students, with or without a bursary or scholarship.

The level of support you will receive for tuition fees will depend on whether you are a home, EU/EEA or overseas student. Maintenance loans are dependent on household income and whether or not you’re living with your parents. Just be aware that you’ll need to apply to your local regional authority depending on whether you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. You may also be eligible for additional payments, for travel expenses, for example.

Postgrad students experiencing financial difficulties can also apply for help from university hardship funds.

Ready to join the teaching workforce?

When you’re fully qualified, that’s when you get to begin teaching for a real wage. There are plenty of resources out there that will help you source a teaching position close to where you want to be – such as a teaching job board or other job sites.

One easier way is to download the Zoek app so you can instantly access teaching opportunities all over the UK, including jobs in London, jobs in Manchester, jobs in Sheffield and remote locations.

And, of course, if you’re looking for part-time jobs to help support yourself while training, you’ll find plenty of these too on the Zoek app or over at our job site at Zoek UK.

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