Having fairly recently changed career to qualify as a science teacher, I was delighted to read about the looming shortage of maths and science teachers. I just hope the pundits are right this time; I would not have contemplated my BEd at Portsmouth University had I known that I would have to compete with 30-40 equally well-qualified applicants for every permanent job applied for over the past two years.
Presumably the Government is aware of the current backlog and will hold back on churning out loads of new science teachers until demand meets supply.
Of course, this would be to the detriment of the teacher-training institutions who seem to have a right to produce large quantities of teachers regardless of whether there is a permanent job for them at the end of their courses.
In the South-east there are numerous universities training science teachers, many of whom are career changers.
Like me, they must find it difficult to uproot their family for a job, particularly in an unfamiliar employment situation. I feel these universities are building up false expectations and should tailor their courses to meet local demand - particularly when enrolling mature students.
I certainly would not now recommend anyone to retrain as a science teacher in the South-east unless they are prepared to travel - a long way.
NIGEL R SMART
29 Gaisford Road