The number of Physics teachers needed is increasing over time but the number of Physics graduates going into teaching is not.
Gatsby recognises that to achieve our ambitions regarding the supply of STEM skills to the UK workforce, we must ensure that young people are taught by well-qualified and motivated specialists.
School science is important in its own right, but it also acts as a gateway to a wide range of STEM careers, including engineering. Limiting the number of pupils taking science qualifications at school will reduce the level of STEM skills in the UK, causing both skills shortages and a negative effect on the economy.
Specialist science teachers are a powerful predictor of pupil achievement and progression to further study. To ensure that pupils have access to a high-quality secondary science education regardless of location or socio-economic status there needs to be a sufficient supply of high-quality, experienced specialist teachers.
Over the last twenty years, Gatsby has undertaken a substantial programme of work designed to recruit and retain high-quality physics teachers. See below for further information about our areas of study.
Our work has included piloting subject knowledge enhancement courses for those entering initial teacher education and for serving teachers; designing mentoring programmes to support newly qualified teachers; supporting teacher training institutions with their marketing programmes and creating innovative routes into teacher training for those with non-traditional backgrounds.
In October 2021, we published a body of essays from a range of authors with experience and expertise in initial teacher education to inform the current debate about its future. Click here to learn more:
Our evidence shows that pay policy is an important lever in the recruitment and retention of teachers.
In 2018 we published two reports focusing on the role of salary in teacher retention. These reports suggested that an education policy with a distinct focus on retention would be more cost-effective than current Government policy focusing on the recruitment and training of new teachers.
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Other related programmes
Good Practical Science
Gatsby advocated for practical science in schools and colleges for over 20 years. In September 2017 we published Good Practical Science by Sir John Holman, which provides a framework for good practical science in schools. Using international visits, surveys and literature reviews, the report developed a series of ten good practical science benchmarks for schools to use when planning their own approach.
Initiatives and Partnerships
Over the years, a number of Gatsby-supported programmes have resulted in successful large-scale national initiatives. Through carefully selected partnerships, we aim to deliver lasting outcomes in improved STEM education.
The Current State of CPD for Teachers
Research carried out by Teacher Tapp provides an evidence-base for future policy making on continual professional development (CPD) for teachers.
The impact of training bursaries on teacher recruitment and retention: an evaluation of impact and value for money
Research shows the value of bursaries in teacher recruitment and retention, especially in the STEM subjects where supply is particularly low.