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
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?