Feeds

Warning sounded over black hole in UK physics teaching

Boffin targets to be missed

The Power of One Infographic

One in four state secondary schools do not employ a specialist physics teacher, according to research out today.

The picture, based on a survey of school recruiters, trainees and colleges, varies around the English regions. The situation is bleakest for physics in inner London, where half of the schools don't have a specialist brain in the staff room.

New rules from September this year mean pupils who score well enough in key stage three science SATs must be offered the choice to take a standalone physics GCSE.

Yet during 2005/06, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 26 per cent more specialist physics teachers retired or quit than came into the profession. The figures are muddied by the fact that teacher training colleges can bag a £1,000 premium by listing general science trainees as "specialists".

One set of data from training colleges shows physics specialist applications down 27 per cent this year, however.

The University of Buckingham researchers behind the report argue that the drop-off may be a sign of new tuition fees levied against trainees in 2006 beginning to bite.

One comprehensive school told the researchers: "Retention is vital. We have not been able to recruit a 'true' physicist for five years. Adverts have on occasion produced a nil response and other attempts produced no viable candidates."

The authors conclude that the government will likely fail to meet its 2014 target of one quarter of school science teachers being physics specialists. In 1983 physics specialists accounted for 30 per cent of trainee science teachers. Last year they were down to 13 per cent.

The full physics teaching doom rundown is here (pdf). ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet
Swedish court refuses to withdraw arrest warrant
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles
Arrests people allegedly accessing child abuse images online
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.