Plans to attract top science and maths teachers welcomed by campaigners

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), the UK’s leading independent scientific advocacy group, gave an initial welcome to some of the Government’s proposals around the teaching of science and maths in schools. CaSE will produce a full, considered, reaction to the proposals in due course, highlighting remaining areas of concern.

The Department for Education announced its intention to provide bursaries of up to £20,000 for teacher training in maths, physics, and chemistry. The move comes after CaSE had raised concerns that lack of funding could leave the UK with a serious shortage of teachers able to train and inspire the scientists and engineers of tomorrow.

Commenting on new plans for teacher training to attract more high-achieving science and mathematics graduates into the profession, CaSE Director Imran Khan said:

“We’re delighted that the Government wants to invest in recruiting top science and maths teachers. Our country’s chronic shortage of such individuals means that action is badly needed, and CaSE has been consistently calling on the Government to tackle the problem. We need 4,000 more teachers in physics alone.”

“The Government wants to offer graduates with a first class degree a £20,000 bursary for teacher training in maths, physics, and chemistry. This is a great statement of intent, but it’s important that the Government recognises that degree class may not be comparable across different universities, or a perfect indicator of teaching quality.”

“We are also worried that the lower bursary levels for students who did not achieve a 1st, with no funding at all for those with less than a 2:2, may actually mean that the country remains short of [science and maths] teachers. There is a relatively small pool of graduates in subjects such as physics.”

“While the bursary goes someway to compensating for the loss of the ‘Golden Hello’ that shortage teachers used to receive. The Government must ensure there will be other systems in place to improve teacher retention.”

“CaSE is campaigning for all primary schools to have a teacher with a background in mathematics and one in science, given that it can be such a formative stage for pupils. The same attractive level of bursaries should be offered to science and mathematics graduates whether they are training to teach in primary school or in secondary school. As it stands, they won’t be. Without this, primary schools may end up with fewer teachers able to lead their schools in science and maths – we need the opposite to happen.”

Scholarships of up to £3,500 for teachers to fund ongoing training in science and mathematics.

“The new scholarships will provide welcome support for those teachers who wish to continue to develop their teaching skills and subject knowledge. Many science, engineering, and mathematics organisations have emphasised the importance of ongoing teacher training – indeed, they have dedicated many resources to it. Sometimes, schools are held back by not being able to cover for teachers who are away on training – this needs to be addressed if the Government’s proposals are to have their full impact.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1.     CaSE is the leading independent pressure group for the science and engineering sectors in the UK. Find out more at www.sciencecampaign.org.uk
2.    DFE plans for teacher training can be found here: Training our next generation of outstanding teachers . DFE plans for the national scholarship scheme can be found here: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/careers/traininganddevelopment/a0077952/national-scholarship-scheme
3.     CaSE wrote to the Department for Education outlining a range of concerns over the Government’s plans in February: http://sciencecampaign.org.uk/?p=2829

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