The Times Education Supplement reports:
Ambitious Government plans to almost double the number of graduates training to be physics teachers are “ill advised” and destined to fail, ministers have been warned.
Targets to recruit almost 1,000 specialists in physics each year will not be met, leaving English schools with a shortage of teachers, according to universities, the Association for Science Education and the Institute of Physics (IoP).
Department for Education officials have unexpectedly increased the number of training places available in physics, leaving university tutors just seven months to recruit the extra graduates.
Currently, teacher trainees in the subject total 518. From September, education secretary Michael Gove wants this to rise to 925. England produces only about 2,000 physics graduates each year.
Mr Gove also wants 1,070 chemistry teacher trainees, almost a third of the 3,300 graduates. This year there are 877 chemistry trainees.
Here in the colonies, the National Task Force on Teacher Education reported last year that
…we are concerned that only a third of U.S. physics teachers have a major in physics or physics education. While about 400 high school physics teachers are hired each year with such qualifications, the rate at which we need new teachers in classrooms to fill gaps produced by retirement or individuals taking other positions outside of teaching is approximately 1,200 per year. In many states, weak standards for certification or endorsement to teach physics hide the fact that many teachers of physics lack the content knowledge and focused pedagogical preparation necessary to provide an excellent physics education for all students.