RSC responds to Telegraph report on teacher training

27 June 2011

Professor Jim Iley, the RSC's director of science and education, said today: "It is clear that England has in recent years struggled to incentivise the best science graduates into entering the teaching profession, so the news that the brightest will receive up to 20,000 to train as teachers (report, June 27) should be welcomed as a bid to rectify that. Specialist science teachers are in short supply - less than one in four secondary school chemistry teachers have a degree in that subject and the Royal Society of Chemistry is extremely keen to see that number rise if we want to compete on a global stage, both in education and industry, with our international competitors.

"But we shouldn't underestimate the scale of the task considering the drop-out rate for science teacher training is nearly 16 per cent: the target set by the Department for Education for chemistry trainee teachers in 2011 is 1,070 while the numbers beginning a chemistry degree last year was 4,316. The Royal Society's 'State of the Nation' report in 2007 showed 84.4 per cent of chemistry graduates have a 2:2 degree or above and would therefore be eligible for a bursary.

"However, it is not a given that every graduate with a First class degree will necessarily make the best teacher. There is a big difference between having the required facility with the subject knowledge on the one hand and on the other working with a class of children in ways that enable them both to engage with learning that subject and wanting to study it. The RSC looks forward to seeing the detailed proposals for assessing graduates at non-academic skills as well as measures to retain talented teachers within the profession, as recruitment is only half of the story.

"If this new system works, having more qualified chemistry teachers in the classroom can only be a step in the right direction."

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Link icon Daily Telegraph report
Bright students to get 20,000 to train as teachers

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