IOP welcomes increase in trainee physics teachers, but looks for more

25 November 2015

A 14% increase in the number of graduates training to teach physics this year has been welcomed as “very encouraging” by the Institute of Physics, though concern remains about a shortfall of around 3,000 in the number of specialist physics teachers needed in England.

IOP welcomes increase in trainee physics teachers

The figures, which relate to England and exclude Teach First trainees, were released by the Department of Education (DfE) on 19 November. In the 2015/16 academic year 723 graduates started training to teach physics, compared to 637 in the 2014/15 academic year. The target last year was for 947 entrants, while the target this year was 1,055.

Charles Tracy, the IOP’s head of education, said: “It is very encouraging to see more and more graduates making the excellent choice to train to become physics teachers, a role that is both rewarding and essential in contributing to the development of young minds – including those of future physicists.

“The IOP's programmes and schemes, many funded by the DfE, are aimed at not only inspiring people to become physics teachers but also at supporting those who are already making a real difference to children in their schools.

“We feel that the figures released by the DfE are testament to the successes of these efforts and demonstrate the tangible effects the funding has had.

“However, we are still facing a shortage of around 3,000 specialist physics teachers in England. And this deficit is concerning because schools that lack specialist physics teachers see fewer students fully engaging with the subject and choosing it at A-level.

“There is still a lot of work to be done. Our aim is to support and welcome people thinking about teaching, going into teaching and working as teachers. Teaching physics is doing physics: it is creative, surprising, rewarding and full of discovery.”

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