key subjects teachers

MPs warn teacher shortages in key subjects, such as physics and maths are getting worse in schools in England.

The Education Select Committee has called for a long-term plan to address the struggle schools are facing to recruit enough teachers whilst facing rising pupil numbers.

The MPs claim the Government has failed to deal with the problem and missed recruitment targets for the past five years in a row.

Many initial teacher training (ITT) targets have been missed, including in core English Baccalaureate subjects – the subjects ministers say gives teenagers a good academic grounding for the future.

The report says: “Recruitment in computing missed the target by the biggest margin of all EBacc subjects, with only 68% of ITT places filled.

“The proportion of the target for physics trainees recruited was 81%, and for mathematics 84%. Design and technology only reached 41% of its recruitment target this year. This raises questions about the Government’s recruitment strategy.”

The committee said: “The government invests a large amount of public money into improving the status of the teaching profession, but there are still major challenges with teacher supply, some of which appear to be worsening.”

Malcolm Trobe, leader of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) head teachers’ union said: “The crisis in teacher supply has a direct impact on the education that schools are able to provide to their pupils.

“It means that important subjects like maths and science have to be covered by teachers who are not specialists in these subjects and that schools have to increasingly rely on supply staff.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “There are more teachers in England’s schools than ever before, with secondary postgraduate recruitment at its highest since 2011.

“We are investing more than £1.3bn in recruitment over this Parliament and have recruited more trainees in key subjects like physics and maths than last year.”

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