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Poor pupils hit hardest by maths teacher shortages

Discussion in 'Education news' started by JL48, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Poor pupils hit hardest by maths teacher shortages

    This is partly because, in addition to low retention rates, only 44 per cent of practising maths teachers have a degree in maths. In contrast, 65 per cent of English teachers have an English degree.

    Just shocking!

  2. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    While not doubting the dire state of staffing in math departments, that statistic might be a little more bleak that the reality - I teach maths to A and Further but my degree is Physics, not maths. There are possibly quite a few more like me out there.

    It's dreadful, in any case.
    JohnJCazorla and JL48 like this.
  3. -Maximilian-

    -Maximilian- New commenter

    We had to go into my child's school to complain about the lack of a maths teacher, after so much cover supervision. I think things are quite bad. I see it first hand myself. Why would any young person with a degree in Maths go into teaching? They can earn a huge starting salary in the financial world. I know money isn't everything, but with the way teachers are treated in this country by leadership teams, the Government and many students, why would you bother with £50K+ of debt?
  4. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Given that only 65% of English teachers have an English degree, it looks as though even those with 'less useful' degrees are turning away from teaching.
    tonymars likes this.
  5. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    From my experience many schools don't want maths teachers with maths degrees.
    Vince_Ulam, MarieAnn18 and tonymars like this.
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    65% of English teachers? That’s very low. Someone is hiring them without, we run at around 80-90%. The bursary for this year is £0 compared to £26k for maths, geography etc.
  7. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Speaks volumes about school based vs university based courses.
    Why not?
  8. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    Preferring style over substance. I didn't want to hire a history graduate as a maths teacher because the maths was wrong in the interview lesson. Was overruled because of the 'quality' of that same lesson.

    When interviewing for my replacement they basically threw an interviewee out of the school for spending 'too long' explaining A level trigonometry. They weren't allowed to go on the tour of the school. I thought the explanation was good.
  9. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter


    Because too many SLT these days don't know what matters and don't recognise good teaching when they see it.
    phlogiston, MarieAnn18 and nervousned like this.
  10. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    you need to add to this how many of these pupils are being taught by non-qualified teachers in their Primary education. or by a succession of supply teachers.
    MarieAnn18 likes this.
  11. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    maybe Math teachers are more awkward than others, being specialist and knowing the subject far better than the senior managers perhaps, very few have a Maths or science background.
  12. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Now you sound like @David Getling :)
    Catgirl1964 and phlogiston like this.
  13. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Mmm. Too many Physics teachers to teach in subject? ;-)
  14. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    You often start off teaching one end up teaching both owing to timetable and staffing.
    JL48 likes this.
  15. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    What appalling anecdotes, but sadly I get the impression that such happenings are extremely common. What kind of complete idiot can laud a lesson's quality if what's being taught is wrong? My nephew has suffered for several years now because his school employed an English graduate who is useless as a maths teacher.

    The bit about trig only goes to show what half-wits SLT are. Almost without exception my students need a fair bit of help to consolidate their trig, and most of them are above average. It's hard to imagine a teacher spending too long explaining this topic.

    To echo another comment, the trouble with schools, and the world in general, is that the vast majority of the leadership has an arts/humanities background. Those trained and practiced in thinking logically and rationally much prefer to be involved in doing real and useful work.
    bevdex and Vince_Ulam like this.
  16. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    If only. In my experience, it tended to be PE.
  17. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter


    I am physics but now teach comp Sci and maths as well.
    JL48 likes this.
  18. Maths_Shed

    Maths_Shed Occasional commenter

    JL48 likes this.
  19. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

  20. gainly

    gainly Established commenter

    I work as a private tutor in maths. When I ask my students what they have done at school two of the most common replies are:
    "Nothing, we had a supply" and "Nothing, teacher weren't in".
    -Maximilian- likes this.

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