Has the PM been reading my blog?

Downing streetI think that Dave (or The Right Honourable David Cameron to give him his full, and correct title) has been reading my blog.

Back in August 2013 I wrote about the shortage of maths teachers, and here we are, a mere 16 months later and he is today announcing plans to recruit and train an extra 17,500 maths and physics teachers over the next 5 years, over and above current levels.

It seems that he is particularly keen to attract postgraduates, researchers and career changers – what I’m not sure is if this is because he thinks such folk make better teachers, or if its because he’s not really sure how and where he’s going to find this extra seventeen thousand.

It also seems that extra support will be offered to non-maths teachers to retrain as maths teachers. This, I think, is a great idea. Subject knowledge is, of course, massively important, but so is the ability to teach. Helping great teachers come over from the dark side and join us in the maths department can only be a good thing for the pupils.  Last year, a colleague was considering just this and asked to come and observe some maths lessons so I invited him in to my classroom. A couple of weeks ago I caught up with him in the staff room and, after listening to his latest long lament on the current failings of his beloved Liverpool football club, I asked him how his “conversion” was going. Sadly,it seems to have stalled, he wasn’t sure how to go about becoming a maths teacher, it seemed to me that there were lots of “providers” willing to part him with his cash for some dubious conversion courses. He’s a great teacher, has a great rapport with the pupils, his maths ain’t bad – a perfect candidate for Dave’s new idea.

I hope this drive to attract and train new maths teachers is a great success. Being a maths teacher is, most of the time, great fun and I’m sure that there will never be enough of us. Oh, and one last thought: Dave, another way to attract and retain teachers? Pay us a little bit more!

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  1. Posted 09/12/2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Looks to me as if Dave is trying to make some noise about how he is hoping to solve the problem of a shortage of maths teachers, i.e. political point scoring. If he was really concerned about the problem, then he would pay maths teachers the same amount (or more) as they would get in industry, and then he would find the problem would resolve it very quickly I suspect.

    • A Maths Teacher
      Posted 10/12/2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Hi James – I suspect (fear) that you are probably right and once again the education of our children is being used as a political football. It’s an easy, popular, headline to grab: “We’re going give you more maths teachers”, delivering on that promise is when it gets difficult. However, at least our importance (and rarity!) has been acknowledged.

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