Teacher shortage threat to physics
Monday 30 June 2008
The teaching of physics in England's schools is under threat because of a growing lack of specialist teachers, a report warned today.
Applications to physics teacher training courses have dropped by 27 per cent in the last year, according to a study published by academics at the University of Buckingham.
And it said 26 per cent more physics teachers were retiring or leaving the profession than were being recruited, with 24 per cent of state schools no longer having a specialist in the subject.
From September, any child who performs well in tests for 14-year-olds will be entitled to study physics as an individual subject.
But the report questioned whether schools would be able to deliver this entitlement.
It also cast doubt over whether the Government's target for a quarter of science teachers to be physics specialists by 2014 would be met.
Analysis of the Graduate Teacher Training Registry suggests that while 30 per cent of science teacher trainees in 1983 were physics specialists, by 2007, that figure was just 12 per cent.
Report author Dr Pamela Robinson said: "It is difficult to be sure whether the government is on course to recruit enough physics teachers because it is working to a long-term target which is hard to pin down and is relying on shaky data."
The report claims it is possible to predict, with 84 per cent accuracy, which schools still have specialists.
Those with sixth forms, or high achieving pupils, were much more likely to have specialist physics teachers, while in those without, about two in five schools will not.
Independent schools are most likely to have the cream of physics trainees. In 2005-06, 22 per cent of those recruited to independent schools had firsts, compared with 13 per cent going to the state sector.
Inner city schools are the worst off, with around a half now having general science teachers rather than subject specialists.
In contrast, in the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber around 10 per cent do not have any physics specialists.
The report, which is based on analysis of national statistics and specially conducted surveys, conflicts with recent statistics from the Training and Development Agency for Schools, which shows an increase in physics trainees.
But the report authors says this may be because teacher training courses are re-classifying general science trainees as physics trainees in return for a £1,000 premium.
It makes a number of recommendations including a call for physics teaching to be made more attractive by restoring its separate identity as a subject.
It also suggests that the deployment of existing teachers can be improved by encouraging sixth form and further education colleges to work with 11-16 schools to ensure specialists are available to teach pupils as they move up through the schools.
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should convert and not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...
£25 - 32,500K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Produ...
£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...
£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...