Press release: Major push to get more maths and physics teachers into our classrooms

From next month, fast track training and incentives to get career changers, former teachers and top graduates into maths and science teaching will begin – as part of a major push to transform teaching in these vital subjects outlined by the Prime Minister.

With more than 7 million jobs in the UK expected to be in the science-based industries by 2030 and engineering enterprises already employing more than 5.4 million, the move is aimed at making sure future generations are able to compete with their international counterparts for the best jobs.

Starting next month, former maths and science teachers, including those who may have left the profession to raise a family, will be able to register online to receive tailored support, including help with applications and access to specialist training, to help get them ready to return to the classroom.

Today’s announcement, totalling £67 million, will also offer career professionals the opportunity to receive fast track training to become maths and physics teachers, upskill thousands of existing teaching staff and attract top graduates into the profession with financial incentives.

Three new schools specialising in engineering, mathematics and computing, and led by leading industry experts and universities, will also be announced to support the next generation of engineers, tech specialists and problem solvers. The new university technical colleges will put employers in the driving seat – allowing them to develop technical curriculums that will ensure young people have the skills required to meet the needs of these growing industries and have the best chance of securing top jobs when they leave. Two of the colleges approved will be the first ever with a focus on cyber security skills – to build an army of coding and programming experts.

Announcing the plans, the Prime Minister, David Cameron said:

Delivering the best start in life for every child is a key part of our long-term economic plan. I come at this as a parent, not just a politician. A great education system won’t just help our country succeed in the future; it will give families peace of mind that their kids can realise their full potential.

That doesn’t just mean building more good school places; it means teaching children what they need to know to make something of themselves. That’s why I want to make Britain the best place in the world to learn maths and science – and because of our growing economy, we have a clear plan to deliver the best teachers to make this happen.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

As part of our plan for education we need excellent teachers in every classroom to prepare children for life in modern Britain.

We want to attract more high quality candidates to teach maths and physics and further raise the status of teaching as a rewarding career. By offering more flexible routes, we will open up the teaching profession to talented career changers who can bring a wealth of experience and transferrable skills to the classroom.

The plans announced today will raise standards in maths and physics further to ensure more children leave school with these valuable skills and can go on to compete for the top jobs and succeed in life.

Today’s announcements include:

Plans to deliver up to 2,500 new maths and physics teachers by:

Drive to bring former teachers back into the classroom

From April 2015, one-to-one support will be available to all trained maths and science teachers seeking to return to the profession. Many teachers leave the profession, often to start a family, but find it difficult to re-enter at the level required. Former teachers will be able to sign up and register their interest in returning to the profession and will be offered tailored support and expertise to help them do so. This could include help with job applications, interview preparation or access to training courses to up their subject knowledge.

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 and 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 from September 2016.

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 – in return for a commitment to teach for 3 years after graduating. They’ll also be able to get a salary of up to £18,500 while training.

In addition, brand new physics degrees will be piloted in 10 top universities – allowing 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 courses – which 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 to 2017.

On top of this, the government will expand its successful maths and physics chairs programme – recruiting 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 of up to £40,000 a year for 2 years and 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.

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. The timing and details of internships will be now developed by schools and universities.

Plans to train 15,000 existing non-specialist teachers

£24 million will be available to upskill 15,000 existing teachers who do not specialise in maths and physics, to not only increase the number of teachers able to teach these vital subjects, but with the training developed by the country’s best schools. It will also drive up the quality of maths and physics teaching across the country. Together, this will create enough training places for every secondary school in England to train up at least 1 member of staff in these specialist subjects each year.

Three new University Technical Colleges

Based in Guildford, Stroud and Portsmouth, these specialist colleges will cater for 14- to 19-year-olds and will take the total across the country to more than 60.

Guildford UTC

Specialising in computer science and engineering, with a focus on cyber security skills, this specialist college will cater for 160 pupils and aims to offer places for more than 700 within 6 years. The UTC is sponsored by the Royal Holloway (University of London) and technology company CGI. Other employer partners include BAE Systems, Babcock International and Air Products. The UTC will help fill local employer needs for high-skilled, qualified computing specialists and engineers.

SGS Berkeley Green UTC

Specialising in digital technologies, cyber security and advanced manufacturing, the UTC, sponsored by the University of Gloucester, Stroud College and advanced engineering solutions company Versarien, will be based in South Gloucestershire and Stroud and will deliver the technical and academic skills needed in cyber security, digital technologies and design, leading to career paths in the security, networking and design sectors.

UTC Portsmouth

This UTC aims to cater for up to 600 14- to 19-year-olds and will work in partnership with a number of employers, in particular the Royal Navy, to prepare young people for careers in engineering and manufacturing – both growing industries in the local economy.

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