Schools should not fear specialist science teacher recruitment

2019-04-30

Schools should not fear advertising for specialist science roles, a new report has claimed.


The analysis of teaching job adverts by School Dash, and created on behalf of the Gatsby Foundation, found that specialist positions were less likely to be re-advertised when compared to general roles.


Not only does this contradict a “common assumption that specialist positions are harder to fill”, but it could provide a new approach for schools that have positions to recruit for.


The report states that schools “should not avoid trying to recruit specialist science teachers simply out of fear of not being able to fill the position”.


Instead, it is suggested that it may “make the task easier” as “science teachers might be more, not less, attracted to roles that are specific to their own area of expertise”.


Despite this, the research found that schools in deprived locations were disproportionately less likely to put out job adverts for teachers with chemistry, physics or biology qualifications.


Government documents – published in February this year – show that science teachers are among the most sought-after, with only information technology teachers in greater demand in 2017.


Both physics and general science roles appear on the shortage occupation list released by the government too, meaning individuals from overseas can receive a special dispensation if they come to Britain to teach.


Government bursaries of up to £26,000 are also available for physics and chemistry teachers, in a bid to entice more people into the profession.


Gatsby Foundation programme manager Jenni French said she hopes the outcomes from the research will encourage schools to “advertise for the specialist science teachers they need”.


“Pupils shouldn’t miss out on a high quality secondary science education due to location or socio-economic status,” she added.


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