Maths and science teaching should be priority


The Prime minister has launched a £67m initiative to retrain 15,000 teachers and encourage university graduates into careers in education.

School leavers will be offered a substantial sum towards university costs in return for becoming a teacher once they graduate in maths or physics. In addition, a national college for digital skills will be set up in London next year to enhance economic competitiveness, with outposts to follow across the country.

Improving maths skills will benefit the competitiveness of the economy and improve the job chances of individuals, David Cameron said.

“There’s no secret to success in the modern world. If countries are going to win in the global race and children compete and get the best jobs, you need mathematicians and scientists – pure and simple."

Under the plans to deliver more maths and science teachers specialist training will be given to existing teachers to enhance the way they teach maths and science, including contact with industry to ensure they are up to speed on the latest developments. A further 2,500 teachers will recruited over the course of the next parliament on top of existing plans.

Top A-level students will be offered a bursary to help pay for maths and physics degrees if they agree to a career in the classroom. Details of the scheme, which is expected to be ready for pupils applying to go to university next year, have yet to be finalised but could mean students receive around 75% of their course fees, as well as some living costs, in return for a teaching commitment of between five and seven years.

Around 5,000 students are expected to pass through the doors of the planned new specialist digital college, which has backing from a range of international companies including Deloitte, Henderson Global Investors and IBM.

However, Labour warned that the government's teacher training policy was already leading to shortages.

The Association of School and College Leaders warned recently that schools would have to recruit from overseas to fill vacancies, including maths and science teachers.

School Leadership Today