Fail­ure to at­tract enough stu­dent maths teach­ers

Ed­u­ca­tion: Fig­ures show more than half of trainee places go­ing un­filled

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - KaTrine bussey

More than half of the tar­get num­ber of train­ing places for maths teach­ers are empty, new fig­ures have re­vealed.

The num­ber study­ing to be tech­nol­ogy teach­ers is also less than 30% of the goal set by Scot­land’s ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing body.

There are 1,126 peo­ple in Scot­land cur­rently study­ing to be­come sec­ondary schools teach­ers – 70% of the over­all in­take tar­get set by the Scot­tish Fund­ing Coun­cil (SFC) for 2017-18.

But only 36 of this group are train­ing to be tech­no­log­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers – 29% of the tar­get of 124.

And while the SFC had set the goal of re­cruit­ing 237 stu­dent maths teach­ers, this year’s fig­ures show that there are only 112 such stu­dents, 47% of the tar­get num­ber.

The SFC had also wanted to at­tract five peo­ple to study to be­come Gaelic teach­ers, but has failed to re­cruit any stu­dents to this.

Mean­while some sub­jects ar­eas are over­sub­scribed, with uni­ver­si­ties hav­ing 122% of the tar­get num­ber of history teach­ers and 115% of the tar­get num­ber of mod­ern stud­ies teach­ers.

New routes into teach­ing boosted the num­ber of stu­dent teach­ers by 204, pro­vi­sional data showed.

De­spite that the num­ber of stu­dent teach­ers was still be­low the num­ber the SFC had set – with 3,861 peo­ple train­ing to teach in ei­ther pri­mary or sec­ondary schools, com­pared to a tar­get of 4,058.

The fig­ures were re­leased by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment at the same time as sta­tis­tics show­ing that there are a to­tal of 536 va­can­cies in Scot­land’s schools, in­clud­ing head teacher and de­pute head teacher posts.

Of these, 268 jobs had been un­filled for at least three months, ac­cord­ing to the data

Schools are cur­rently look­ing for 77 prin­ci­pal teach­ers, 29 head or de­pute head teach­ers and 71 maths teach­ers, as well as 65 English teach­ers.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment stressed that the per­ma­nent teacher va­cancy rate is 1.6% of the over­all teach­ing work­force.

Min­is­ters also ex­pect that by the end of Jan­uary 2018 281 stu­dents will have taken up one of the 11 new routes into teach­ing, with the fig­ures show­ing an over­all in­crease of 7.5% in the num­ber of stu­dent teach­ers.

Deputy First Min­is­ter John Swin­ney said: “These new routes are de­signed to en­cour­age peo­ple from a whole range of back­grounds to con­sider teach­ing as a pro­fes­sion and I am pleased to see the im­pact they are hav­ing on the num­ber of stu­dent teach­ers.

“It is dis­ap­point­ing the tar­gets set for some sec­ondary sub­jects have not been met. How­ever, along­side the £20,000 Stem (Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Maths) bur­saries I re­cently an­nounced for ca­reer chang­ers and the in­creased in­ter­est we have seen among un­der­grad­u­ates as a re­sult of our re­cruit­ment cam­paign, we ex­pect to see the num­ber of peo­ple train­ing as teach­ers con­tin­u­ing to rise.”

Pic­ture: PA.

Deputy First Min­is­ter John Swin­ney said he ex­pects to see the num­ber of trainees rise.

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