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IOP responds to House of Commons Education Committee report on teacher recruitment

17 May 2024

“No magic bullet” but report step in the right direction towards addressing shortfall of physics teachers.

Commenting today, Louis Barson, Director of Science, Innovation and Skills at the Institute of Physics, welcomed a report published by Parliament’s Education Committee calling on the government to invest in programmes to boost recruitment, training and retention in the teaching profession.

He said: “It is good to see the committee addressing the desperate shortage of teachers – especially physics teachers – and highlighting the need to do this by improving recruitment, retention and the availability of retraining.

“In physics there are about 6,500 physics specialists, which is a shortfall of 3,500, and we have the highest teacher attrition rate of any subject. So the committee’s call on the government to ensure teachers feel valued, supported and respected as professionals is welcome.

“This is a critical issue that damages students’ opportunities and our nation’s ability to innovate. There is no magic bullet. But it’s good to see the report looking at how pay and alternative pathways can be used to further incentivise new recruits, alongside revitalised Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses and workload reduction to improve retention.

“Much more work needs to be done, but this cross-party report is a welcome step in the right direction and we hope that the government takes it seriously.”