HC Deb 15 June 1981 vol 6 cc273-4W
Dr. Roger Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what he estimates to be the current shortage of school teachers in physical sciences and mathematics, and in particular physics; and what progress is being made in overcoming these shortages.

Dr. Boyson

In January local education authorities reported the following unfilled vacancies—the figures for 1980 are in brackets:

Unfilled vacancies
Physics 151 (268)
Chemistry 62 (159)
Mathematics 383 (599)
In addition, there are larger, but less easily quantified, hidden shortages, caused by the fact that in some schools these subjects are being taught by teachers lacking specific qualifications in them. Recruitment to teacher-training courses in these subjects improved markedly in 1980, and that improvement has been sustained in the current year. These additional teachers should satisfy current demand and could make some inroads into hidden shortage.

Mr. Lyell

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take steps to increase the number of potential graduate chemistry teachers by widening the opportunity for postgraduate students in chemistry to combine the postgraduate certificate in education course with their postgraduate training on the lines of the Leicester experiment.

Dr. Boyson

It is for individual universities to decide whether they should make provision for combining teacher training with postgraduate research.