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Science: Teachers

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of science teachers specialised in (a) physics, (b) chemistry and (c) biology in the latest year for which figures are available. (288351)

The specialisms of science teachers in maintained secondary schools in England were collected as part of the Secondary School Curriculum and Staffing Survey. This is an occasional survey that does not provide a full time series.

The following table gives data from the 2007 survey, the most recent survey available, for full-time equivalent teachers. It shows the percentage of science teachers who had a specialism in each science specialism1 and the percentages of occurrences for each specialism:

1 In this case, a specialism is any post A-level qualification (including degrees, BEds, PGCEs, Certificates in Education and other post A-level qualifications) in one of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Other Science.

Science teachers' science specialisms, England, 2007

Percentage of teachers

Percentage of specialisms

Biology

40

32

Chemistry

27

22

Physics

27

22

Other science

20

16

Non-science subject

10

8

Total

124

100

Note:

Base: 35,720 teachers and 44,022 cases of specialism

Source:

Secondary School Curriculum and Staffing Survey, 2007

Some teachers had a qualification that covered more than one science subject, so the teacher figures sum to more than 100 per cent. Teachers were only double counted if they held qualifications in more than one of the Biology, Chemistry and Physics specialisms, otherwise they were only included in one category. A teacher with more than one qualification in the same subject was counted only once against that specialism.

The second set of figures shows the percentage of specialisms. Where qualifications covered more than one science subject, equal weight was given to each subject when recalculating to sum to 100 per cent.. The analysis did not take into account how many periods were taught by a teacher, so the specialism of a teacher who taught one period of science was given an equal weight to a teacher who taught 20 periods of science.