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Trainee teachers in some Stem subjects find it difficult to achieve QTS

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    The hardest subjects to qualify as a teacher in have been revealed:

    ‘Around one in six people who train to teach physics do not achieve qualified teacher status, the latest government statistics reveal.

    The Department for Education data shows that just 85 per cent of final-year postgraduate students in 2017-18 achieved QTS in physics – a lower percentage than in any other subject.

    The other subjects where more than one in 10 candidates did not become qualified teachers were computing (87 per cent), chemistry (88 per cent) and maths (89 per cent).’


    What are your thoughts about the statistics? Are you surprised by the figures? Are you a physics, computer science or chemistry teacher, what did you think about your teacher training?
  2. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    Is this to do with the bursaries on offer?

    Are people attracted to a year of training while they think of what else to do? People who might not be as committed or enthusiastic as those embarking on ITT in other subjects?
  3. WB

    WB Lead commenter

    Maybe these are the hardest subjects to teach because they are hard subjects to learn.
  4. jlmorgan100

    jlmorgan100 New commenter

    In my experience, this could be because of the suitability of trainees recruited to shortage subjects. Perhaps this is because ITT providers have a quota they need to meet each year?
    Also, I wonder what more could be done to support trainees of shortage subjects who need a little more support. I have seen far too many trainees, who are not necessarily making expected progress towards the standards, but who could, with a little more support.
    JohnJCazorla and blazer like this.
  5. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    I have met many computing trainee teachers who did not know the first thing about programming. They should never have been allowed on the training courses.
    Easyasabc likes this.
  6. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    When ITE establishments recruit graduates into PGCE courses other than those in which they have graduated, this is more than likely to happen. As already suggested, there are also trainees who are attracted simply by the bursary with no real intentions of gaining QTS. It's a gap year for such people who are earning whilst looking for the real thing. Finally, a combination of: pupils' appalling behaviour; the ways in which some colleagues treat new entrants into the profession with impunity (go to the PGCE forum and read horror stories there), inadequate ITE provisions (e.g. some - of course not all - school direct candidates and dumped, unguided and ultimately failed or 'passed'); post-qualifying earning which is not significantly higher than income during training, and which compares unfavourably with earnings for STEM degree holders, etc., potentially contribute to candidates not gaining their QTS wittingly or unwittingly.
    Easyasabc likes this.
  7. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    All trainee teachers in all subjects find it difficult to achieve QTS. It takes a year of training.

    In some subjects, some trainees leave before the end of the course. These are trainees who have physics and mathematics degrees who can earn considerably more for less work elsewhere. Once faced with the reality of their noble intentions, their former career calls to them like a soft siren.
  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Or perhaps people who are wired to understand STEM subjects are less susceptible to the ITT BS!
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    The science department in the school I have worked in recently seems the least stable in the school in terms of recruitment and retention.
    There are lots of factors at play in this school.
    I tend to agree with @blazer that if you're wired to understand science, doing all the ITT stuff can be hard.
    Practical work adds an extra layer of complication to lesson observations. In the school I know practical learning is becoming a victim of cost cutting. This also makes teaching and learning harder though.
    blazer and JohnJCazorla like this.
  10. maggie m

    maggie m Senior commenter

    As a scientist I found the first essay difficult on my pgce. Then I cottoned on to the eduspeak and nonsense required and it got easier. I still have no time for the bright young things talking rubbish and thinking it is somehow based on valid research.
  11. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    It wasn't so much being a scientist that made PGCE weird (I can't say it was hard) but being a mature student caused problems. As a guy in his 30s with a family, mortgage etc my BS filter was set really high! Trying to write the assignments that the lecturers expected to see took some doing.
    Betterreadthandead and maggie m like this.
  12. maggie m

    maggie m Senior commenter

    So true blazer, I was about to hit the big 40 when I trained and can identify with what you say.
    Betterreadthandead likes this.
  13. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    I suspect at least some of it will be that the non-subject skills required of teachers now are less common in those who train in STEM subjects. Certainly I've found that a higher proportion of STEM teachers than others are bit geeky (guilty as charged in my case) and don't always find the interpersonal aspects of teaching as easy as those from other disciplines. Clearly not universally the case but it's a very steep learning curve to come in with a love of physics and realise that primarily you need to love wrangling a room full of teenagers and/or SLT who don't have a clue about your subject. It has taken me 12 years to realise that this is the problem and I'm now working on an escape plan.
    blazer and JohnJCazorla like this.
  14. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    As a scientist, you expect assertions to be backed up with reproducible evidence, which is the very last thing that applies to 'edubollox'!

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