England faces chronic shortage of maths and science teachers

New research has revealed that more than 100,000 secondary pupils will be taught maths and science by teachers who aren’t qualified in the subjects because of a severe shortage of new recruits. However, there are already thousands of experienced registered candidates in both subjects on eteach.com and recruiters are increasingly turning to Eteach to fill vacancies in these crucial areas.

Over the past year the way graduates are recruited into teacher training has changed significantly, with fewer entering teacher training institutions and more being recruited directly into schools through the government’s School Direct programme, as we reported last month.

New research has revealed a shortfall of up to 30% in maths trainees for September, through PGCE courses and direct school recruitment from the DfE. The Independent reports that there is a similar problem with physics, where courses have attracted 386 fewer recruits than 2012. Other key subject areas like English and modern foreign language face a similar serious shortage.

Researcher Professor John Howson of Oxford Brookes University blames the government for being complacent after the 2010 recession, which marked a high spot for teacher recruitment as other jobs weren’t available. Now, with the job market improving, potential candidates are often turning their back on teaching. “We’ve now had successive years when public sector wages have been held down, and regular stories about the problems facing the profession,” he said, “No wonder graduates in the STEM subjects are accepting jobs elsewhere. That was always the risk.”

ASCL’s Brian Lightman is worried about the shortages: “We’re seeing big gaps in recruitment – particularly in the STEM subjects. It’s a very big cause for concern considering their importance for the future of the economy and it means that some schools have got difficulties in filling places now.”

Schools are already using Eteach to recruit qualified teachers in shortage subjects. Last year recruiters posted over 1,700 maths vacancies and almost 1,500 science vacancies on eteach.com. Eteach has the qualified teachers schools need to fill the predicted shortage, with 9,381 registered maths teachers and over 8,000 science teachers. We urge every school to use Eteach to safeguard their pupils’ education in these important subjects.

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