Just half of places for trainee Physics teachers filled

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie has today warned that the Scottish Government is setting the country up for decades of failure, as new trainee teacher intake figures for 2021 published this week revealed that in key STEM subjects the number of recruits has fallen far short of targets. 

Figures published by the Scottish Government reveal that while targets were met for subjects such as Art, History and Drama: 

  • Just 50% (59 out of 117) of targeted places for Physics teachers were filled. 
  • 62% (52 out of 85) of targeted places for Technology teachers were filled. 
  • 63% (91 out of 144) of targeted places for Chemistry teachers were filled. 
  • 77% (172 out of 224) of targeted places for Maths teachers were filled. 

Outside of STEM subjects, just 70% of places for Modern Languages teachers were filled. Overall less than 85% of total places filled. 

Commenting on the figures, Mr Rennie said: 

“Two years ago Education Scotland said that the way to get kids interested in science was to let them play with broken equipment. I have a counterproposal: why not make sure they have great teachers? 

“There are enormous opportunities in the STEM fields for Scotland to be a world leader. We have a tremendously talented group of young people, but they will never achieve their potential if there are not enough teachers to aid and guide them. By failing to recruit enough
 trainee teachers in these key subjects the Scottish Government is setting the country up for decades of failure. 

“Scottish Liberal Democrats would give young people better access to expert teachers in STEM subjects by bringing back principal teachers for each of them and for each science.  That will create a more attractive career path for graduates in STEM subjects within teaching. 

“At a time when Scotland has recorded its worst ever results for science in the PISA results, we need properly resourced schools and education authorities with a hint of curiosity about how to get Scottish education moving in the right direction.” 

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