UK facing shortage of Teachers for Science and Maths

UK facing shortage of Teachers
A recent study says that, UK is facing shortage of teachers for subjects like Mathematics and Science. Due to the scarcity of teachers, more than 1,00,000 secondary school students will be taught by untrained teachers in these subjects.


The fact has been identified by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove as "National Strategic Priorities" at A-level. He predicted that, this scarcity will discourage sixth-formers from studying the respective disciplines.

How experts describe this issue?

Research by Professor John Howson of Oxford Brookes University and Data for Education, which specialises in analysing recruitment trends, has revealed that up to 30 percent of Maths places on PGCE teacher training courses, to start in September remain unfilled, potentially leaving schools 700 recruits short next year.

Chris Waterman, co-author of the research said that, one missing Maths teacher meant 150 secondary school pupils would be taught the subject by a non-specialist, putting 100,000 pupils at risk of receiving their education from someone who has no specialist Maths training.

Professor Howson explained that when the jobs market is improving - as it appears to be at present, albeit slowly - potential candidates often turn their backs on the teaching profession. By contrast history courses have recruited 75 more candidates in 2013 than the year before, which is 170 more than 2012's target. The number of primary school recruits has risen from 20,760 to 23,380, coinciding with a bulge in the birth rate which has meant that the sector needs extra staff.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "We're very concerned about [the shortage of Maths and Science recruits]. The sort of feedback we've got from our heads is that recruitment directly to schools has been very, very patchy across the country."

Carol Vorderman, who chaired a report on SATs tests for the Education Secretary Michael Gove in 2011 says, Maths has to be taught in a very clear way and cannot be fudged. When taught brilliantly, Maths is easy and beautiful. With Maths, you need a deeper understanding. Mathematics is not just any old subject, it is a language, it's the language of commerce, industry, finance, Science, engineering, the internet, communication and all technology. It's such an important subject that a First World society cannot afford to teach it to any other standard than first class.

Part of the problem is that almost all of those people going into primary school training as shown by Professor Adrian Smith's 2006 inquiry, gave up Maths at 16, he added.

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