The NSEAD campaign against inequalities in initial teacher bursaries and misrepresentation of our subject

Since October 2018 NSEAD’s special interest group for Initial Teacher Education has written to both Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education and Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools. We have written and campaigned regarding the misrepresentation of our subject and the discrimination of art and design trainee teachers who do not receive a bursary.

Our first letter, 23 October 2018, resulted in a very positive response from the DfE. They agreed to change the Get into Teaching website ensuring that art & design, music and drama were no longer bundled together under the same heading of ‘Arts subjects’ and were instead given separate headings.

We had also asked: ‘Why is an ITE bursary offered for music but not for art and design when music has recruited more successfully against the Teacher Supply Model for the past three years?’ The response to this issue was not satisfactory, so again, 30 January 2019, we wrote to Nick Gibb.

Our letter received yet another less than satisfactory reply from Nick Gibb and, 18 April, we responded once again. This letter identified a range of subjects that over recruit trainees, which amply meet their Teacher Supply Model targets but in contrast to our subject, are allocated bursaries. Nick Gibb’s more recent reply (13 May 2019) does not provide NSEAD with any evidence to justify the allocation of bursaries, noting instead that English Baccalaureate subjects, despite an evident over recruitment, are ‘prioritised for funding.’

Such ‘prioritisation’ the Society believes, is proof and evidence that decisions regarding bursary funding are not made based on equitable data. Instead this shows bursaries are allocated on the perceived value of subjects and a hierarchy created by the Government’s school performance measure. When this value judgement is impacting so fully on our teachers and our subject, NSEAD cannot accept this inequality.

As soon as the next round of bursary allocations are published, the Society will continue its campaign against this explicit inequality.

Read NSEAD's letter, 18 April, to Nick Gibb here

Read Nick Gibb's reply here

Has the ongoing discrimination and inequalities in teacher trainee subject bursaries impacted on you and your career? Did you decide not to undertake a PGCE in D&T and not in art and design? If the inequalities in initial teacher education bursary provision has impacted on you in any way we want to here from you. Please let us know your experience by emailing

17 Jun 2019