100 new scholarships a year to attract physics teachers


The Government has published a teacher training implementation plan to train the next generation of outstanding teachers.

Education Secretary Michael Gove announced a £2m-a-year partnership between the Department for Education and the Institute of Physics (IOP) to attract the best graduates to become physics teachers.
Around 100 scholarships worth £20,000 each will be available every year for graduates with a 2:1 or first class degree who are intending to do a mainstream physics, or physics with maths, Initial Teacher Training (ITT) course.

The IOP will work with experts in teaching practice to award scholarships and hand-pick candidates demonstrating exceptional subject knowledge, enthusiasm for the study of physics, and outstanding potential to teach.
IOP research shows that around 1,000 new specialist physics teachers in England are needed every year for the next 15 years to plug the gap so that the subject is taught by specialist teachers. Last year around 275 fewer trainees were recruited to physics initial teacher training courses than were needed.

The scholarship comes as part of the Government’s implementation plan for its ITT Strategy, Training our next generation of outstanding teachers.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “If we want to have an education system that ranks with the best in the world, we must attract outstanding people into the profession, and we must give them outstanding training.

“The scholarship scheme launched with the Institute of Physics will help make sure we have excellent physics teachers in this country with deep subject knowledge. They will help raise the status of the teaching profession and also make a huge difference in the lives of children.”

Professor Peter Main, Director of Education and Science at the Institute of Physics, said: “These scholarships will help the Institute realise its aims of welcoming a greater number of physics teachers into the broader community of physicists and of increasing the spread of subject expertise in education.  They will help us to develop excellent teachers from excellent graduates.”

Ministers aim to expand the model physics scholarships to other specialist subjects from 2013/14 onwards. It is hoped other organisations will come forward who are interested in attracting and selecting trainees for the award of outstanding teacher training scholarships.

The proposals in the Government’s Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Strategy Implementation Plan covers:

  • Encouraging more primary specialist teachers to be trained
  • Offering graduates with first-class degrees in physics, chemistry, maths and modern foreign languages significantly better financial incentives to train as teachers
  • Requiring all trainees to have high standards of mathematics and English by requiring trainees to pass a tougher literacy and numeracy tests before they start training
  • Allowing and encouraging schools to lead their own high-quality initial teacher training
  • Giving schools a stronger influence over the content of ITT training as well as the recruitment and selection of trainees
  • Continuing to ensure that ITT provision focuses on the quality of placements and selection
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