Bursaries for trainee teachers are to be scrapped in most subjects as part of the coalition’s money-saving drive.
The annual £6,000 payments will be dropped for those planning to teach topics including English, history, geography and art.
Under the plans, recruits will still be able to get up to £9,000 a year to train in areas seen as vital to the economy, such as science, maths and modern languages. But new teachers will no longer receive £5,000 “golden hellos” after a year in the job.
The move comes as major changes in training places are due to take effect.
Numbers for secondary schools will fall by 2,000 from September – a decrease of 14% – while primary teaching places are set to rise.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “This isn’t a cut. There are fewer children at secondary school so we need fewer teachers. The Department calculates the number of new teacher recruits the school system needs using a supply and demand model.
“The number of children at secondary school age across the country is falling with the number of primary age children increasing. We therefore make the right amount of funding available based on this need.”
The same formula is understood to have been used under the Labour government.
Referring to the removal of bursaries, the spokesman added: “The Government will continue to attract the best graduates into teaching by offering bursaries in maths and sciences which are priority subjects and we are also investing in the Teach First scheme to attract the very best graduates.”
But Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, warned that cuts this year would create staff shortages in two or three years’ time. “We already have a large number of teachers aged over 55 who are going to retire in the next few years, just as we cut trainees and bursaries. This Government is setting itself up for some serious problems two or three years down the line,” she told the Daily Telegraph.