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STEM Subjects: Teachers

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL11180, tabled on 7 December 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that secondary school teacher recruitment meets targets in all STEM subjects.

Answered on

21 December 2020

It is a top priority of the government to ensure we continue to attract, retain, and develop high quality teachers to inspire the next generation. The department is making progress in delivering the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which we published in January 2019: This includes commitments to reduce teacher workload, improve continuing professional development, and offer greater opportunities for flexible working.

Recruitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects remains challenging. Despite this challenge, 7,066 trainees were recruited to teacher training this academic year (2020/21) in a STEM subject, compared to 5,865 last year (2019/20), which is an increase of 1,201.

We know there is further to go to ensure teaching continues to be an attractive proposition. The department recognises that graduates in STEM subjects often attract the highest salaries outside teaching, which is why we are offering £24,000 tax-free bursaries for trainee teachers in chemistry, computing, mathematics, and physics. We are also offering prestigious scholarship schemes in partnership with professional bodies for chemistry, computing, mathematics, and physics, where trainee teachers receive £26,000 tax-free and a package of tailored support provided by the professional body.

We are also piloting several retention payment schemes for STEM teachers, including Early-Career Payments, Teachers’ Student Loan Reimbursement and the Mathematics and Physics Teacher Retention Payments Pilot. We are conducting full evaluations to assess the impact of each of these pilots, and we will consider our future retention offer in light of the evaluation findings.