UK schools have had a consistent and growing problem in attracting STEM Teachers into the profession.
In the 2022 data released by the DfE, it was shown that 22% of Maths Teachers and 42% of Physics Teachers have no relevant post-A Level qualification. On a personal note, we have seen multiple non-subject specialists (i.e. PE Teachers) who have been asked to take up KS3 and KS4 Maths or Science due to their school’s inability to recruit a specialist.
Various steps have been taken to tackle the problem, such as bursaries and scholarships of up to £29,000 available to Science & Maths Teachers, yet we are still seeing recruitment targets being missed year after year.
For September 2022’s teacher training intake, the government targeted the following numbers in STEM subjects:
- Physics – Target of 2610 – Achieved 398
- Chemistry – Target of 885 – Achieved 620
- Biology – Target of 780 – Achieved 486
- Maths – Target of 2040 – Achieved 1482
- Computer Science – Target of 1145 – Achieved 278
The government’s targets for 2023 have only grown bigger, with no signs of improvement in recruitment.
Now, some of these subjects are always going to be tough to recruit for due to other career options available that the government can’t control.
As an example, Physics, Maths and Computer Science graduates will have endless, lucrative opportunities in Tech, Data and Finance, but that only highlights whether more can be done to attract people into teaching.
Having placed hundreds of STEM teachers into schools, we have seen countless amounts of offers from schools bumping teachers up the pay scales.
If you are a strong STEM ECT, it is highly likely schools will start you on more than MPS1 in order to compete with the market and other offers. This is becoming increasingly common practice, so it begs the question, why is there not a separate payscale for in-demand subjects?