New initiative to recruit physics teachers

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New initiatives are being developed by the University of East Anglia in a bid to increase recruitment of physics teachers for the 2010/11 academic year and beyond.

Last month MPs on the Children, Schools and Families Commons Select Committee were told that one in four secondary schools were unable to offer A-level physics because of the shortage of teachers.

Working in partnership with the Institute of Physics (IOP), the university is taking part in the Marketing Initiative for Teacher Recruitment (MITRE) project, which aims to help teacher training providers increase the numbers they admit to their PGCE courses.

Despite successful national media campaigns, incentive schemes and initiatives by the Training Development Agency for Schools (TDA), there is still a significant shortfall in recruitment of physics teachers. This is set to get worse as increasing numbers of teachers are approaching retirement.

Commenting on the scheme, Prof Nigel Norris, head of UEA’s School of Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “We strongly support the need to increase the number of physics teachers coming into the profession. We are enthusiastic about science education and teaching physics provides both a sense of achievement and the chance to open up new horizons to young minds."

Chris Shepherd, Teacher Support Manager at the Institute of Physics, said “We recognised that there was a real need for a new sort of recruitment initiative, as many Initial Teacher Training providers have specific time, resource and support constraints that prevent them from committing as much time to physics recruitment as they would like.

"One of our key objectives at the Institute is to support and encourage teacher-trainers to ensure that physics education prospers well into the future.”

The MITRE programme is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and supported by the TDA.

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