Private firms such as Goldman Sachs, RBS, Barclays, BAE Systems are to partly fund teachers in state schools for the first time, as part of a new plan to enhance standards of education. The new government initiative seeks to encourage young people to study STEM subjects for longer. It also aims to connect schools to the world of work.
The Maths and Physics Chairs programme will be co-funded by the government and companies including Samsung, GlaxoSmithKline, Barclays and BAE Systems. Top graduates with a PhD in math and physics will be offered £40,000 a year for two years as teaching trainees. The salary is almost twice the usual starting pay for trainee teachers and is around 50% higher than the national average wage.
Interestingly, every candidate who secures a place as a math or physics trainee on the Researchers In Schools programme will automatically be eligible for a salary uplift and many other benefits. Private sponsors will pay £75,000 over three years to cover ‘salary uplifts’ and the training costs for each teacher.
The Structure of the Scheme
In the first year of the scheme, the graduates selected will receive training to become qualified teachers through classroom teaching at a state school. During the second year, participants will act as ‘University Access Champions’ in their school which involves teaching and conducting their own academic research.
A major part of what graduates’ are expected to do is to carry out "masterclasses" for children across a network of comprehensives in their local area and develop free online math and physics resources for schools to use.
On top of this, they are expected to set up links between schools, higher institutions and businesses. This entails helping pupils to get work experience at the companies that have sponsored them.
Teachers are Key Players in Raising Education Standards
According to Elizabeth Truss, the Education Minister, the measures are essential in addressing shortages in key subjects and help businesses "create the workers they will need in the future". Mrs Truss also noted that "too many teenagers think maths and physics are niche subjects; that couldn’t be further from the truth. They open the door to careers in everything from business or journalism to technology or engineering…We want to inspire young people to study maths and physics and I can’t think of anyone better to do that than teachers”.
The Department for Education (DfE) underlined that the way math and physics are taught is bound to change. More inspirational, practical and cutting-edge learning methods are expected to be introduced in English schools and motivate more pupils to study them. This will in turn encourage more young people to pursue lucrative careers using these qualifications.
How to Apply
Applications are particularly welcome from scientists, engineers and researchers from other quantitative backgrounds who are interested in training to be math or physics teachers. The deadline for applications for the first assessment centres is Friday 30 May 2014. More information on how to apply for the scheme can be found here.