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Teachers like (and dislike) Greening's student loan 'forgiveness' plan

6 October 2017

Because we Teacher Tappsters are sneaky, we put a question out in advance of the education secretaries speech on Sunday in which she announced a pilot of student loan repayments in certain parts of the country.

First, we asked teachers if they thought loan forgiveness for new teachers was a good idea — and 77% of teachers said they agreed or strongly agreed.

BUT, we also asked whether people thought it was fair if the forgiveness only went to teachers in particular subjects. A whopping 69% of teachers felt subject specific loan forgiveness was unfair.

BUT HERE’S THE MAGIC. We did some further analysis and found that how teachers feel about targeted loan forgiveness depends on their subject ?

Primary teachers tend to think subject-based loan forgiveness is daft. Presumably this is because most don’t have a specific subject and so won’t be covered.

Science and maths teachers had a much higher tolerance of targeted loan forgiveness. Presumably this is because they believe it will cover their subject. (We included just four subjects in the analysis as we only had a reasonable response number for these).

So What? As awkward as it is, this suggests teachers respond to policies in somewhat self-interested ways. A top-level figure such as ‘69% of teachers disagree’, hides the fact that people in different subjects will often have very different opinions.

What we didn’t ask! Greening will trial the loan paybacks in 24 areas around the country. We don’t (yet) know how you feel about this. Any thoughts?


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