Two new reports look at the background and experience of STEM teachers in colleges and consider the implications for delivering expanded provision of technical education.
The UK needs 700,000 more technicians in the next decade to meet the demand of employers. A sufficient number of suitably qualified teachers is vital to the initial training and continued up-skilling of technicians. However, the most recent FE workforce information is not granular enough to measure the rich range of experience held by FE teachers in STEM subjects. Working with the Nuffield Foundation, Gatsby commissioned Professor Geoff Hayward and Dr Matt Homer to profile the current FE STEM teaching workforce.
The research details the age profile, qualifications held, modes of working, courses taught, industrial and teaching experience, and ongoing professional development of FE STEM teachers. Both reports highlight the likely future need for additional suitably qualified STEM teachers in order to meet labour market demand for highly skilled technicians.
The research further emphasises the difficulties facing FE colleges in taking on the extra teaching that is required to deliver a more universal mathematics provision up to the age of 19. For example, of those teaching GCSE mathematics and/or numeracy/functional skills without a mathematics degree, 43% do so without an A-level or equivalent in mathematics.
The reports conclude by suggesting that it should be mandatory for colleges to provide data on their mathematics and SET teachers. This would provide a robust evidence base on which necessary interventions can be implemented to ensure a highly skilled and numerate workforce.
The reports can be accessed here: