Headlines: September 29th, 2003

More secondary school teachers have degrees and more lessons are taught by teachers with degrees in their subjects than in 1996, according to the latest figures on school staffing. They also show that the problems in maths teacher recruitment have not been fully overcome.The 2003 Secondary Schools Curriculum and Staffing Survey – the first since 1996 shows a – 12% rise in the percentage of full time teachers with a degree and an 8% increase in the overall percentage of subject periods taught by full-time teachers with a degree in those subjects. There has also been a 4% improvement in the overall percentage of full-time teachers with degrees in the subjects that they are teaching.

At the same time the number of staff teaching maths without a post A-level qualification in the subject has risen by 2%. The Secretary of State for Education, Charles Clarke pointed to the fact that between 1992 and 1998 graduate recruits to maths teaching courses fell by 34%, but from 1998 to September last year graduate recruits to maths rose by 50%. Vacancy rates for maths teachers have also fallen by 22% in the past two years but Mr. Clarke said maths recruitment was a priority.

Maths teachers listed in the survey as having ‘No Qualification’ in maths were not necessarily unqualified, he said. Most of them were likely to be qualified and graduates in subjects such as physics and ICT. “But we are not complacent. I am also looking forward to Professor Adrian Smith’s Independent Post 14 Mathematics Inquiry which is due to be published next month,” he added.

The survey shows that in January this year there were 423,600 full-time equivalent regular teachers in the maintained schools sector in England, the most for 21 years and a rise of 4,000 since January 2002. There are now more full-time equivalent teachers with QTS than at any time since 1984.