Recruitment: 20 per cent more trainee maths teachers needed in 2016, DfE reveals

14th October 2015 at 17:17
maths teachers

A huge increase in maths teacher trainees will be needed in 2016 to meet school demand, according to new government data published today.

The Department for Education teacher supply model sets out how many postgraduate initial teacher trainees need to be recruited each year in each secondary subject and for primary schools.

It calculates that 3,102 trainees will be needed in 2016 for maths, a rise of 521 (20 per cent) on the requirement for this year, 

The demand is far larger than in English, which requires the second highest number of secondary teacher trainees – 2,253 in 2016, exactly the same as this year.

The goverment cites three policy changes that it says are driving the demand for maths teachers:

  • The introduction of the core maths qualfication – which could mean up to 40 per cent of post-16 pupils studying a qualification with the teaching time of an AS-level.
  • A continuing increase in pupils opting for further maths A-level.
  • A new “big, fat” maths GCSE, which will require more teaching time.

The new figures come after UCAS figures released earlier this month revealed that, as of mid September, 95 per cent of maths trainee places had been filled for 2015, with 121 left empty.

Dr Sue Pope, Chair, Association of Teachers of Mathematics, said: “There a massive need for maths teachers. The requirement for everyone to get GCSE post-16 has put an enormous strain on the system and we have a situation where the number of graduates is dropping for the next few years because of demographics.

“Maths teachers in schools are under enormous pressure because of accountability measures and the fact that GCSE teaching has become harder.

“There has been systematic under-recruitment for the last six years. It has always been a challenge to recruit to target in maths and it has become worse with the confusion about school direct and now universities who are concerned about ensuring they have enough places to run courses next year.

“I would say you could encourage people in by paying their tuition fees."

The teacher supply model, which was published by the National College for Teaching and Leadership, takes into account the number of people already teaching a subject, the number likely to leave teaching for various reasons and the number likely to return to teaching or who will enter after taking an undergraduate course. It then calculates how many postgraduate trainees are needed to start in 2016 to ensure schools have enough teachers in 2017.

*Read a personal account of how the shortage of maths teachers is affecting one London secondary school here.

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