News story: New plans to attract and train maths and physics teachers

The Prime Minister has set out plans to transform maths and physics teaching in our schools. It aims to:

  • train thousands of new teachers
  • fast track professionals into the classroom
  • attract the country’s top graduates and university fellows

Today’s announcements will see £67 million invested over 5 years to open up routes into maths and physics teaching. There will be financial incentives and fast track courses to get former teachers, high quality career changers and top graduates into the classroom.

Today’s announcement includes plans to boost the skills of 15,000 existing non-specialist teachers and attract up to 2,500 additional specialist maths and physics teachers over the next 5 years.

Plans to deliver up to 2,500 more maths and physics teachers

Bringing former teachers back into the classroom

From next month, one-to-one support will be available to all trained maths and physics teachers seeking to return to the profession. Around 30,000 teachers leave the profession every year, often to start a family or pursue other avenues of work. Those that wish to return sometimes require support to ensure their knowledge is up-to-date when they re-enter the classroom. The support on offer to maths and physics teachers wishing to return will improve the quality of teaching in these vital subjects. This will include:

  • access to specialist subject training courses to update their curriculum knowledge
  • help with applications and interview preparation
  • support to access recent classroom experience to make sure they are classroom ready

Visit Get into Teaching for more information.

New fast-track programmes to attract high quality career changers into teaching

Skilled professionals in sectors such as engineering or medicine will be able to retrain as teachers. New part-time training routes will open up the profession to allow people to train while continuing to work or look after a family. With the vast majority of new teachers in their mid-20s to early 30s, the Government wants to open up the profession to mid-career professionals in other sectors.

Grant funding of up to £20,000 will be available to school partnerships to allow them to develop pilot training programmes, with the first trainees entering the classroom as early as January 2016. The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has received bids from school partnerships for flexible routes aimed at career changers and will notify successful schools on 13 March 2015.

Getting maths and physics specialists into the classroom

To get the brightest and best into the classroom, teaching must compete with other leading professions in science, maths and technology. Up to £15,000 will be available to top maths and science undergraduates while at university. To get this funding, students will need to commit to teach for 3 years after graduating. They’ll also be able to get a salary of up to £18,500 while training. Further details on this initiative will follow shortly and invitations to tender will be issued on Monday 16 March 2015.

In addition, brand new physics degrees will be piloted in 10 top universities. This will enable students to get a teaching qualification alongside their degree course. The universities have been offered grant funding of up to £10,000 to develop the specialised physics degree courses. These courses will be accredited by the Institute of Physics and will mean students won’t have to do an additional year’s teacher training on top of their degree. The specialised courses will be developed ready to begin in 2016 and 2017.

On top of this the Government will expand its successful Maths and Physics Chairs programme. The programme will recruit experts with PhDs in these subjects to teach in schools and train those around them. More than 100 university fellows will benefit from a salary package in the region of £40,000 a year for 2 years. This will be targeted to schools that are struggling with maths and physics results, as well as areas where they are facing a shortage of high quality teachers in these subjects. Invitations to tender for the 2016 to 2017 programme will be issued by the end of March 2015 with 100 new chairs being in classrooms from September 2016.

Piloting paid internships for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) undergraduates

Paid internships will also be available to maths and physics undergraduates from summer 2016 to give them the opportunity to experience teaching before they commit to it as a career.

This will be a useful tool in persuading some to train as teachers who may otherwise not have considered it as an option. It will also enable them to begin training as a teacher while they complete their degree, getting them into the classroom more quickly. This is an innovative new route into teaching which will raise the profile and appeal of teaching amongst STEM undergraduates. School-led partnerships will be invited to bid for grant funding on Monday 16 March.

On top of this, we will be encouraging STEM teachers in other countries to teach in the UK.

Plans to up-skill 15,000 existing non-specialist teachers

£24 million will be made available to up-skill 15,000 existing non-specialist maths and physics teachers over the next 5 years. This will enable every secondary school in England to up-skill at least 1 of their staff in these specialist subjects each year.

The training will be developed and delivered by outstanding and good schools across the country and will help drive up the quality of maths and physics teaching nationwide. The application window for schools to bid for teaching subject specialism opportunities opens today.

Find out how to apply for funding to provide school-led teacher subject specialism training in a group of schools.

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