Government changes to teacher training leading to shortage of maths and physics teachers

30 October 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Moving teacher training away from universities and into schools, is leading to a shortage of teachers for key science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, says a report released today.

UCU said the report's findings demonstrate how dangerous the government's policy of sidelining university training courses has been.

The report finds the School Direct programme has been more successful in recruiting trainees into subjects such as English and history but less so in STEM subjects, contributing to a shortfall in teachers in areas such as maths and physics.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'This report's findings prove how dangerous a path the government is taking as it sidelines university teacher training courses. For the first time next year, School Direct trainees will outnumber university teacher training students yet it isn't even filling all its places.

'If politicians persist with this policy, university teacher training departments will be in grave danger, despite being the engine houses for the next generation of maths and physics teachers that our schools and economy so desperately need.'

The School Direct programme, which trains teachers in schools, was set up in 2012 with just 900 places but has been expanded so rapidly that by 2015/16 it will have 17,609 places, meaning for the first time School Direct trainees will outnumber university PGCE students. School Direct failed to recruit its full allocation last year.

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