Apr 20, 2017
UK Maths and Physics Teacher Crisis
Source: TeachingMathsScholars Article – http://teachingmathsscholars.org/news/uk-maths-and-physics-teacher-crisis
England has announced a ‘crisis’ in the education world with a severe lack of teachers in maths and physics departments up and down the country. It seems that even those who study these subjects at university, go on to other career paths.
There has now been an increased demand for recruiting overseas teachers for maths and physics posts. But what effect is this going to have on our education system? Well, the government has often denied there is a problem but with teachers’ salaries continuing to be deemed too low and constant changes in policies, there will probably always be a shortage of teachers.In addition, the issue appears to be that there is not only a shortage of maths and physics teachers in England, but this is a worldwide problem. So, recruiting from abroad will not be an easy task anyway, especially since England will need to recruit from countries where the education standards and needs are similar to theirs.
But overseas recruitment will not solve the on-going issue that our education system has. Therefore, the government are now desperately trying to find ways to improve our situation here in the UK. Calculations show that by 2030, over 7 million jobs in the UK are going to be to need scientific competencies. Therefore, the government are now trying to improve things in order to help our country’s bright prospects, so that they don’t miss out on opportunities to those from overseas.
There is now a program in place in which the government have invested millions of pounds. This trains new graduates to become maths and physics teachers. There is also an online program, where former maths and science teachers can register and access training in order to get them back in the classroom. Plans have even been discussed to train up 15,000 existing general teachers, in order to get them specialising in maths and physics.
We are all for boosting the number of physics and maths teachers in the UK, but perhaps some incentivising may help the situation. We came up with 5 important ways we think could really help the situation:
Start at the roots:
get A level students who study maths and physics involved in teaching. They can build up experience by teaching younger pupils and give them a taste of what it’s like at an early age. And of course, encourage more students to study maths and physics in the first place!
Introduce four year maths courses:
if there is a first year which teaches foundation maths, then those that did not take it in high school could still do the degree. Universities could also introduce degrees that include a QTS within the degree.
Increase the amount of paid training places at schools:
for physics and maths teachers. Increasing their salaries once a qualified teacher would help too!
Offer those who are already qualified teachers in other subjects
to be able to re-train as a maths/physics teacher and perhaps offer an incentive for those who do.
Offer to pay off student loans to those who go on to work as a maths/physics teacher.
Partial payments could be paid and a system could be worked out where the amount of loan paid off depends on how long you work as a teacher.
What do you think?