Latest figures on applications for postgraduate training show a 37 per cent fall in applications for physics places compared to last year, and 6 to 10 per cent drops for the other sciences and maths.
Don Foster, the Lib-Dems' education spokesman and a former physics teacher, said urgent action was needed. Only 36 students have applied for PGCE physics courses by the middle of last month.
But according to education consultant John Howson, other shortage subjects have suffered even more.
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