Mathematics: Teachers

Department for Education written question – answered on 25th October 2021.

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Photo of Peter Kyle Peter Kyle Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to improve the retention rate of mathematics teachers.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

There are more than 461,000 full-time equivalent classroom teachers, which is 20,000 more than in 2010. 41,472 new trainee teachers were recruited to start training in 2020/21, which is 23% more than in 2019/20, while just over two thirds of teachers who started teaching five years ago are still teaching.

However, the department recognises that some schools face challenges recruiting mathematics teachers, and that there is more to do to ensure that teaching remains a well-rewarded and prestigious profession. That is why we have announced a levelling up premium, worth up to £3,000 tax-free, for mathematics teachers in years 1 to 5 of their careers. This will support the recruitment and retention of maths teachers in the schools and areas that need them most. We will confirm the full eligibility details, including the eligible schools and areas, in due course. This is in addition to our tax-free bursaries worth up to £24,000 to encourage talented trainees into subjects such as mathematics.

As part of the education recovery plan, the department has announced that we are investing over £250 million of additional funding to help provide 500,000 teacher training opportunities to teachers so that they can access world-leading training appropriate for whatever point they are at in their career, from new teachers to headteachers. This includes £184 million of funding for new National Professional Qualifications (NPQs). Three new specialist NPQs have been launched to best address the broad range of responsibilities of current and aspiring middle leaders, including the NPQ for Leading Teaching. This aims to develop teachers who are subject leads or responsible for improving teaching practice in a subject or phase, including subjects such as mathematics.

Finally, we are taking action to reduce workload and improve wellbeing, which we know is crucial to teacher retention. The department has created an Education Staff Wellbeing Charter which sets out a range of commitments on the government and employers in schools and colleges on wellbeing. Furthermore, the Department for Education school workload reduction toolkit, developed alongside school leaders, is a helpful resource that is being used by schools to review and reduce workload in their unique context. We are working with the sector on an update to be published in the coming months.

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