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State of the nation

The UK's science and mathematics teaching workforce

10 December 2007

The number, quality and deployment of science and mathematics teachers in our schools and colleges are matters of vital importance to the UK.

They have major implications for: the quality of science and mathematics education; young people's intellectual development and their ability to make a responsible contribution to a world that increasingly depends on scientific knowledge for solutions to its many and varied problems; fostering new cadres of professional scientists, engineers and science and mathematics teachers; and the UK's status as a leading knowledge economy.

By using the most reliable data available, this report examines:

  • the size of the UK's science and mathematics teaching workforce;
  • the extent to which this workforce is populated by specialists';
  • the sources and numbers of new recruits to the profession;
  • retention within, and attrition from, teaching;
  • the demand for science and mathematics teachers;
  • recruitment targets and workforce planning.

This is the first in a series of state of the nation' reports from the Royal Society aimed at monitoring and helping to improve the quality of science and mathematics education in the UK.

Working Group

The first report of the 'State of the nation' project was led by a Working Group, made up of experts in education. Professor Julia Higgins DBE FRS was the chair of the Working Group.