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Scheme Combats Shortage of A Level Maths Teachers by Training Schools' Hidden Professionals

Originally published 15 March 2004

A new scheme devised by the University of Warwick and Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI) is being launched today which will combat the shortage of A level Maths teachers by identifying and training skilled teachers from maths and maths related disciplines who currently only teach maths to 11-16. The scheme will broaden their knowledge and skills enabling them to teach A level Mathematics.

For many schools time-tabling A Level Mathematics is becoming increasingly problematic due to the serious shortage of teachers who can teach to this advanced level. The recent Smith inquiry into post-14 mathematics highlighted the significant problems in recruiting suitably qualified mathematics teachers. It noted that 24% of teachers in secondary schools had 'weak' or 'nil' qualifications. Who, many Heads of Mathematics are asking, is going to teach the A level mathematicians of tomorrow?

This University of Warwick/MEI “Teaching Advanced Mathematics Project”, funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, will appeal to teachers seeking a new intellectual challenge or career direction. Applications are open now and the course starts in June. On completion of the course in September 2005 teachers will qualify for a Post Graduate Award in A Level Mathematics Pedagogy. Taking into account the demands already placed on teachers’ time, much of the work will be done using on-line materials. The course spans two summer holidays to allow time for teachers to make substantial progress outside the academic terms. To support this distance learning there will be seven workshop days at the University of Warwick.

In the pilot phase this course around 20 places will be available with will heavily subsidised course fees of £150. In subsequent years MEI will build on this pilot and will form partnerships with other universities to make this a national provision.

Details of heads of maths departments who are aware of the new scheme and willing to speak to journalists about recruitment and retention of suitably qualified maths teachers:

Steven Warne
School: Woodway Park
Tel no. School 02476 616155
Fax: 02476602398

Mark Kent
College: Cadbury Sixth Form College
Tel no. School 0121 458 3898
Fax: 0121 433 2619

For further information please contact:

Adrian Simpson
University of Warwick
Tel: 024 76 524564
0781 4420583

Bernard Murphy
Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI)
Project Co-ordinator
Mobile 07876 595502
Tel. (0161) 448 9285 (only 18th and 19th March)