S.T.E.M. Teachers – A Possibility of Shortage

The Situation:

England risks a shortage of science and maths teachers next summer, meaning that tutoring in London could be sought after.

The government’s new School Direct scheme is recruiting too few trainee teachers in key subjects. Even though the scheme was coping well in many of the arts and humanities subjects, it was failing to recruit trainee teachers in science, mathematics and technology (S.T.E.M.) subjects.

Some three-quarters of trainee physics teacher places on the scheme are unfilled but the government promotes that the number of physics teacher trainees are now at their highest level since records began.

The Facts and Figures:

There are two training routes on School Direct – salaried and unsalaried.

For physics, three quarters of salaried and unsalaried trainee places were still empty at the start of August. In chemistry and maths, some sixty percent of salaried places and unsalaried places were unfilled. Recruitment for trainee biology teachers was stronger, with 71% of salaried places filled but only 43% of unsalaried places.

School Direct is a very new scheme and although successful in some areas, it has been much less so in shortage subjects such as physics. The government wants almost ten thousand new teachers to train on the scheme instead of at universities, and is cutting payment to university departments which train science teachers.

With this fall in recruitment of S.T.E.M. staff, science tuition in London may see a rise in uptake.

It is not clear exactly why there are such large differences between subjects, but it could be said that it would be wise to offer both schools and universities some breathing space and reduce School Direct quotas to allow time to develop a better understanding of the process and to enable us all to learn from this year’s lessons.

The Bright Side:

A Department for Education spokesman said: “School Direct is proving extremely popular, by May around 22,500 people had applied for 10,000 places, and applications continue to rise.”

This year we have seen an increased number of highly qualified graduates and career changers move into science and maths teaching, with the number of physics teacher trainees now at the highest level since records began.

The government have been making some progress, as initiatives to recruit physics teachers have seen dramatic gains in recent years. However, with the supposed lack in S.T.E.M teachers, this change may have come too late to affect current students. We’ve heard of how the Government is making the exams harder, predominantly in Maths, so we at Greater London Tutors have made sure to offer tuition in maths in this time of need.

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