A report out today (13 August) highlights a potential shortage of Science and Maths teachers in the not-too-distant future. The highly predictable cause is that, during times of economic downturn, teaching is a safe option for those with degrees in the so-called ‘STEM’ subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). When the economy picks up, those people can find jobs in the private sector suited to their qualifications. They are much better paid than teaching. The obvious solution would be to make teaching better paid but the more likely prescribed solution will be for schools with the ‘freedom’ of being academies or ‘free’ schools to pay their Science and Maths staff differently. This will be hailed as the triumph of market forces. Quite apart from the morale-sapping knowledge that your Science or Maths colleague is getting more money for doing the same job as you, teachers of other subjects may even see their wages suppressed as schools realise the only way to find the better money demanded by teachers of shortage subjects is to pay everyone else a bit less. This is bound to improve the quality of teaching across the board! Of course, a shortage of teachers of key STEM subjects will result in fewer students pursuing these subjects long-term, something Michael Gove says he wants.
Click on the image for the full story in The Independent.