Mature entrants to maths teaching are excluded

10th January 1997 at 00:00
Once again an article on your inside pages has said that there is a shortage of maths and science teachers, and that this will cause a major problem in the next few years. The article intimated that this was due to "the weakening of an already poor supply". I would like to know where this information originated - from schools, the Office for Standards in Education, or where?

I was a mature student, from industry and over 40 years of age. All of my younger colleagues on the secondary maths course found jobs and started last September. They have all started on scale 1, because of my background and age I would be offered a scale 5 or thereabouts. It is quite obvious that if a school is going to employ an newly-qualified teacher, who would not initially teach the full timetable, and also would require mentoring, it is financially more sensible to pick the younger student.

There are a large number of mature students who are not working, and indeed unlikely to find a job, because schools cannot afford them. The few interviews that I have attended have invariably resulted in the appointment of existing teachers, with their NQT year well behind them. There is talk of offering financial inducements to encourage more maths and science students. It would be better if this money were to be re-routed to encourage schools to accept mature students.

At the moment if there is anyone in industry (of mature years) thinking of making a switch to teaching, don't.

PETER CANWELL (BA(QTS) maths, unemployed) Gosmore The Square Westbourne Emsworth Hants

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