From education to employment

Government incentives failing to tackle loss of subject specialists in schools

students sat in classroom

Golden hellos and cash incentives designed to encourage new entrants into teaching the subjects with the biggest shortages of teachers are failing and should be replaced by an across the board programme of real-terms pay restoration for all teachers.

Representatives at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union in Harrogate have argued today that only a real-terms pay increase, coupled with effective action to bring down levels of workload and working hours, will successfully tackle the growing number of lessons being taught by teachers who are not qualified in that subject.

For example, the most recent official data confirms that only 87.2% of mathematics lessons in year groups 7-13 in 2022/23 were taught by teachers with any relevant post-A-level qualification in the subject. Only 72.5% of physics lessons, 83.2% of chemistry lessons, 79% of French lessons and 54.1% of computer science lessons were taught by staff with relevant post-A-level qualifications.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“The Government has consistently missed its recruitment targets into initial teaching training over several years. The result is that it is becoming harder and harder for schools to fill vacancies and teachers are more likely to be asked to teach outside their specialism.

“The Government has simply failed to grasp the nettle and remains committed to policies that threaten to make an already bad situation much worse.

“The only strategy that the Government needs to focus on, but which it has resolutely refused to accept, is to improve substantially the pay and working conditions of teachers generally, so that they are highly competitive with other post-graduate occupations.”

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