Course to address dearth of physics teachers

Thirty higher education institutions are to offer a new teacher training programme in physics and mathematics, it has been announced.

December 13, 2011

The course was developed in partnership with the Training Development Agency for Schools, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Physics.

It is hoped that 306 trainees can be recruited for its first year in September 2012.

In addition to the training bursaries already available for students, the IoP announced last month that it would be providing 100 scholarships, each worth around £20,000, for graduates with a 2:1 or above who chose to take the new course or an initial teacher training course in physics.

Peter Main, director of education and science at the IoP, said he was delighted that the “tide was turning” on the historical shortage of physics teachers in schools.

“The combination of physics with maths is a natural combination that appeals to many physics and engineering graduates who have the potential to become teachers in these key shortage subjects,” he said.

“Historically, many of these graduates might have been deterred from physics teaching by the prospect of having to teach biology and chemistry, subjects with which they may have much less familiarity.”

Matthew Harrison, director of education at the Royal Academy of Engineering, said that there was “something special” about the combination of mathematics and physics.

“Engineers are trained to solve physical problems using the language of mathematics.

“Teachers trained in both mathematics and physics can instil in pupils a confidence that they can become real-world problem solvers too,” he said.

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