Schools in education are less likely to hire science teachers

Schools in education “cold spots” identified in the White Paper on Equalization have fewer vacancies and are less likely to hire science professionals, according to a new study.

The White Paper identifies 55 “cold spots” in education or areas for investment in education (EIA) where school performance is weakest, which is earmarked for targeted support, including increased funding to retain the best teachers in high-priority subjects.

Areas include Knowsley, Hartlepool, Isle of Wight and Oldham.

However, in order to work fully, it also requires schools in less-favored areas to look for specialist teachers in the first place.


Researchers said the government’s plans to hire more science teachers for EIA through a salary bonus would only work if schools were looking for science professionals in the first place.

The study found that the number of vacancies for teachers tended to be lower in educational “cold spots”, a trend that preceded the pandemic.

Vacancies in the EIA are also much less likely to indicate a specific science, such as biology or chemistry.

Researchers said this gave some support to the idea that teacher retention bonuses early in careers in subjects such as chemistry and physics could help schools retain teachers in high-priority subjects.

They added that he also suggested that bonuses be higher for EIA schools.

Research has found that EIA schools are less likely to hire science specialists. (Ben Birchel / Pennsylvania)

(PA Archive)

“Success, however, will require schools themselves to look for such specialist teachers in the first place,” they added.

The analysis of the SchoolDash website looks at the number of vacancies published in schools and colleges in England from 2019 to 2022.

Prior to the pandemic, EIA schools announced fewer vacancies, and this continued into the 2021/22 school year.

In 2019, there were 12.5 advertisements per 1,000 science teachers in EIA, compared to 15.8 in schools without EIA. By 2022, there were 12.4 EIA advertisements, compared to 16.9 in non-EIA schools.

Schools without an EIA had more ads for major subjects in English, math and science in the three-year period between 2019 and 2022.

The highest percentage differences between EIA schools and non-EIA schools in the number of vacancies are observed in business, humanities and music and drama.

The difference between EIA and non-EIA schools seems to be real, which largely reflects the actual basic levels of recruitment, probably due to staff turnover


SchoolDash said that for some curriculum areas, such as business, schools without EIA may be more inclined to offer this subject in the first place, but this will not be true for core subjects such as science, math, English and humanities. sciences where there were still “significant differences” in recruitment.

The researchers said they believed that “the difference between EIA schools and non-EIA schools seems to be real, which largely reflects the actual basic recruitment levels, probably due to staff turnover”.

The report also found that the share of advertisements for science teachers who identified individual sciences as biology or chemistry rather than science as a whole was lower in EIA schools, with about 20% citing specific science in EIA schools over time compared to about 30% of advertisements for schools without EIA.

Researchers said that this partly reflects the fact that there is a lower perception of individual sciences in educational “cold spots”, with more students choosing a double GCSE in a scientific discipline.

They note that in 2022-2023, “equalization premiums” of £ 1,500- £ 3,000 will be introduced for teachers of chemistry, computers, mathematics and physics at the beginning of their careers in certain schools – with higher payments for schools in the EIA – and that an analysis by the Gatsby Foundation and University College suggests that this will improve detention.

“However, in order to work fully, it also requires schools in less favorable areas to look for specialized teachers in the first place,” said SchoolDash.

“Despite evidence that these roles are not more difficult to fill, they seem to remain more inclined to look for general science teachers instead.”

When the policy was announced, Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “The quality of students’ education in important subjects such as mathematics and science should not depend on where they live and teachers should not think they have to leave their local area for some reason. time. better paid work.

“Our equalization premium will help give children and young people the best in mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer science, while supporting jobs in low-income areas, helping to raise the level of education for all and economic growth. “

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