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Schools: Teachers

Volume 716: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action is being taken to recruit more science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers in primary schools. [HL1242]

Teachers are recruited directly by schools and local authorities according to their needs, but the Government specify the content of initial teacher training, and for this all primary trainees must have a grade C or above in GCSE (or equivalent) in mathematics, science and English. Primary school teachers are trained to teach across the whole range of curriculum subjects rather than as specialists, but before they can qualify they must have gained, or already have, a first degree (or equivalent) and have passed professional skills tests in numeracy, literacy and information technology.

Although teachers are not given initial training to be science specialists, this department is encouraging greater use of practical work and other enhancement and enrichment activities in science lessons in both primary and secondary schools. As part of this, the Association for Science Education has been contracted to run a support programme to improve the use of practical work in science in schools.

To meet the Williams review recommendation that every primary school should have access to a mathematics specialist teacher to champion maths and act as the nucleus for achieving best pedagogical practice, there is now a two-year professional development programme for current primary teachers to develop their subject knowledge, subject-specific pedagogy and ability to mentor and coach colleagues. As well as their generalist teaching duties, mathematics specialist teachers work with colleagues to improve mathematics teaching across the school and increase pupil engagement, confidence and achievement in mathematics. The first cohort of the programme began in January 2010.