29 June 2010

Record numbers apply to teach science and maths

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Recession drives thousands more graduates to register for training, after coalition promises teaching jobs will be safe from cuts

The economic crisis has delivered a boost to secondary schools crying out for maths and science teachers: a huge rise in the number of graduates applying for training.

Applications for science are up by 40% on last year and maths by 33%, according to the Training and Development Agency for Schools.

More women than men are applying, while recruiters have noticed a surge in inquiries from people hoping to switch careers as the recession hits jobs.

The data, provided by the Graduate Teacher Training Registry, shows there were 1,047 maths applicants last year, 528 of them women and 519 men. This year, a total of 1,390 candidates have applied – 714 women and 676 men.

For science, 2009 saw 1,435 applicants (862 women, 573 men), compared with 2,014 candidates this year (1,214 women, 800 men).

But the TDA said more graduates with good degrees were still needed: around 6,000 science and maths teachers are required each year, it says.

Frances Wing, head of physics at Nonsuch high school for girls in Cheam, Surrey, has a first-class honours degree in physics and believes her knowledge of the subject has helped develop her skills in the classroom.

She said: "It's great to see that there is a rise in people wanting to teach maths and science, given how vital these subjects are in giving future generations the skills they need to succeed."

(The Guardian)

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