Four ways to make sure maths teach­ers stay happy (and stay put)

From dart­boards to de­vel­op­ment days, depart­ment heads should tune into the unique needs of their team to pro­vide the stim­u­la­tion teach­ers crave – or risk los­ing their ser­vices for good, says Peter Mat­tock

TES (Times Education Supplement) - - FEEDBACK YOU SAY -

There aren’t enough maths teach­ers. Ac­cord­ing to the House of Commons brief­ing paper in June, Teacher re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion in Eng­land ,the gov­ern­ment fell 16 per cent short of its tar­get for re­cruit­ment of maths teach­ers; what’s more, 20 per cent of those en­ter­ing the pro­fes­sion as newly qual­i­fied teach­ers are not work­ing in state schools two years af­ter join­ing.

In a world of pub­lic sec­tor pay freezes, huge pol­icy re­form, ever-in­creas­ing work­loads and shrink­ing school bud­gets, it is hardly sur­pris­ing that teach­ing is not seen as an at­trac­tive ca­reer for those leav­ing univer­sity with such a sought-af­ter qual­i­fi­ca­tion as maths. And it is hardly sur­pris­ing that many teach­ers are choos­ing to not stick around – the re­ten­tion is­sues within the sec­tor have been widely and per­sis­tently re­ported.

With all of this taken into ac­count, the onus on schools is strong to re­tain the maths teach­ers they have, as well as to pro­vide high-qual­ity train­ing for both spe­cial­ist and non-spe­cial­ist teach­ers. But even this is not easy: those in­creas­ing work­loads and shrink­ing bud­gets mean teach­ers strug­gle to find time for de­vel­op­ment and schools strug­gle to fi­nance re­lease time for CPD, never mind the cost of cour­ses.

It is up to de­part­ments and schools to find cre­ative so­lu­tions to keep maths teach­ers in the job and make sure ev­ery­one teach­ing maths is well trained. But how do you do it?

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