HC Deb 26 July 1999 vol 336 cc83-4W
Mr. David Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what measures the Government are taking to expand the availability of secondary school teachers specialising in(a) physics, (b) mathematics and (c) information technology; and if he will make a statement. [92577]

Ms Estelle Morris

The wide ranging reforms to the teaching profession set out in our Green Paper "Teachers—meeting the challenge of change" will make teaching more attractive. Over time, it will substantially boost our ability to ensure the supply of high quality teachers we need.

We are also investing £130 million in shorter term measures, many of which target these shortage subjects. Last October, I announced £5,000 incentives for graduates in maths and science subjects to go into teaching. These have already brought a substantial increase in PGCE applications in those subjects, by 37 per cent. for maths and 33 per cent. for physics. This comes on top of £10 million of financial assistance for trainee teachers in shortage subjects, including maths, physics and technology, and the waiver of PGCE tuition fees. We have also launched a scheme to recruit 600 mature maths and science graduates and match them to vacancies in schools. Other action targeting these subjects includes the high-profile national advertising campaigns of the Teacher Training Agency. They also work closely with higher education institutions and professional subject associations on a range of initiatives to boost recruitment to teaching.