The Vision: Teachers have high professional status and there is a strong supply of science and mathematics specialists.
Teachers have a crucial role to play. Ensuring the UK has an adequate supply of science and mathematics teachers is dependent on supporting professionalism in teaching and raising its status.
The UK’s capacity to offer a high quality science and mathematics education to all young people is hampered by a shortage of suitably qualified teachers.
Too few primary and secondary school teachers hold degrees in mathematics and science, but these subjects are best taught by those who have chosen to specialise in them.
Courses to prepare new teachers should develop subject knowledge and a deep understanding of how to teach effectively. All teachers should commit to ongoing, career-long professional development.
Teaching is not a craft that can be learnt simply by on-the-job training. Rather it is a profession demanding of specialist knowledge and skills. Inspirational teaching begins with teachers with passion for their subject.
- Require all school and college teachers to work towards a suitable teaching qualification to ensure they are experts in teaching as well as in their specialist subject
- Retain science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) technicians in schools and colleges on permanent and well-paid contracts
- Make subject-specific professional development a core requirement for teachers and technicians and link this to career progression
- Invest over the long term in national infrastructures which provide access to subject-specific professional development for all STEM teachers and technicians
- Ensure that every primary school has, or has access to, at least one subject specialist teacher in both science and mathematics and that all post-primary science and mathematics lessons are taught by suitably qualified subject specialists
- Train and reward teachers to engage fully with digital technologies to improve students’ experience of, and attainment in, science and mathematics
Key developments since 2014
- The Government committed to creating a teacher recruitment and retention strategy
- £100 million to upskill computing teachers and create a National Centre for Computing
- £42 million for a Teacher Development Premium pilot
- £27 million for improving the teaching of maths through the Teaching for Mastery programme
- The Government consulted on changes to Qualified Teacher Status and strengthening career progression for teachers
The Society's work
A comprehensive review (PDF) of teachers’ confidence in delivering the new computing curriculum has been published.
The Royal Society's Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education produced a snapshot (PDF) on key issues in maths teacher supply.
Braided Careers case studies (PDF) have highlighted four ways of encouraging flexibility within the teaching profession.
The Royal Society has commissioned a set of twelve case studies looking at national teacher training systems for science teachers.