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IOP responds to cut in overseas physics teacher training support

4 April 2024

Abandoning International Relocation Payment “simply not good enough”.

The Institute of Physics (IOP) has responded today to the news that the pilot scheme which offered non-UK trainee teachers of languages and physics £10,000 to relocate to England has been cut by the Department for Education (DfE).

Trainees in languages or physics set to train to teach in the 2024-25 academic year are no longer eligible for the International Relocation Payment. This applies to all trainees starting courses from 1 July 2024 onwards.

The scheme was only launched in September last year, and had been due to run for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years as part of government efforts to deal with a crisis in teacher supply. In physics alone the IOP estimates that England is short of 3,500 teachers.

Under the payment teacher trainees from overseas could apply for a grant to cover the cost of a visa, the immigration health surcharge and other relocation expenses.

But the DfE has now said trainees due to start their training in England in 2024-25 will no longer be eligible to receive the funding.

Responding to the news, Louis Barson, IOP Director of Science, Innovation and Skills, said: “This is simply not good enough. The UK has a desperate shortage of physics teachers and, while overseas trainees should never be seen as the whole solution, they have the potential to make a meaningful difference.

“We are halfway through a pilot and large numbers of high-quality trainee physics teachers are expecting to come and start courses in September. This decision is incredibly disruptive to them and to teacher training centres – not to mention that we may now lose some of these much-needed trainees altogether.

“We need a concerted, national effort to close the 3,500 physics teacher gap, with a sustained commitment to retraining, retaining and recruiting new teachers. Abandoning this scheme in its infancy and before we know its full potential only makes doing that even harder.”