Maths and physics teaching: PhD graduates to get cash incentive

Schoolchildren sitting an exam The scheme will "build a pipeline" from schools to the world of work, ministers say

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University fellows with a PhD in maths or physics are being offered thousands of pounds in extra wages and benefits to become school teachers in England.

Under a programme joint-funded by the government and businesses they would receive a benefits and salary package of up to £40,000 a year for two years.

Other postdoctoral teacher trainees start on a minimum salary of £17,000.

The scheme aims to get more young people to study the subjects for longer.

It follows a warning last summer by recruitment expert Prof John Howson, of Oxford Brookes University, of a shortage of maths and science teachers.

'Salary uplifts'

The "Maths and Physics Uplift Programme" is part of the Researchers in Schools training programme for PhD graduates.

It is joint-funded by the government and businesses including Samsung, GlaxoSmithKline, Barclays and BAE Systems.

Individual trainees are sponsored through the programme, including a salary "uplift".

Start Quote

Teenagers studying these subjects will go on to underpin a flourishing UK economy”

End Quote Education Minister Elizabeth Truss

The teachers on the programme will also be paid £40,000 for a third year when they are fully qualified.

In the first year of the scheme, PhD graduates are trained to achieve qualified teacher status.

During the second year they teach to meet the full requirements of their "newly qualified teacher" year but through a reduced timetable so they can "promote research and champion university access within schools" and can also carry out their own academic research.

Education minister Elizabeth Truss said too many teenagers thought maths and physics were "niche subjects", adding: "That couldn't be further from the truth.

"They open the door to careers in everything from business or journalism to technology or engineering.

"By getting experts into schools we can build a pipeline from GCSE through to A-level and beyond into the world of work - teenagers studying these subjects will go on to underpin a flourishing UK economy," she said.

The DfE said it would make teaching of the subjects "more inspirational, practical and cutting-edge - transforming the way the subjects are taught in schools in England and inspiring more pupils to study them".

"This will lead to more young people going into highly paid careers using these qualifications," it added.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 424.

    Three months before my maths `O` Level in 1964 my school finally realised that about half my year were dunces at mathematics. We then embarked on three months of intensive instruction which I found very enlightening. I went on to take part of a degree in statistics.

    Maths teaching in the UK has been poor to variable for decades. A concerted effort to turn it around is now well overdue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 419.

    I'm a student currently preparing for GCSEs in a state school in Oxfordshire.
    Until a few months ago we had 4 Oxford Uni students (undergrad and postgrad) visiting our school on a weekly basis. They told us about their research, visits to CERN, and were just generally a helpful and welcome addition to the department.
    The government should be encouraging more school-uni relationships like this!

  • rate this

    Comment number 414.

    Sussex University under Asa Briggs sent their young maths and science lecturers into local schools to help with 6th form teaching. It worked very well and because of the "link" many of their students then enrolled into the courses at Sussex. I know it worked as I was involved in the "experiment"

  • rate this

    Comment number 345.

    The UK doesn't train enough technologists. The feedstock is maths & physics in school. There are 1000's of high salary engineering jobs in the UK & many more globally, but so few UK candidates (especially women). Teaching is part of the problem - but its also cultural - UK elites, MP's, media, etc are 99% ignorant of maths & physics. Any attempt to close the gap is good but the challenge is huge.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    As a teacher with experience of training new teachers, I have seen that in the majority of cases, the teachers that struggle to adapt are the real academics. It is a bit of a stereotype but they often don't have the communication skills needed and can't relate to the children ( and vice versa ). But of course, Michael Gove knows better!


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