Schools turn to 'untapped goldmine' of unhappy graduates

A survey suggesting that nearly half of recent maths and science graduates are unhappy in their job because they don’t get to use the knowledge and skills they gained at university is evidence that many are wasting their time in ‘dead end’ careers, the organisation responsible for recruiting people to teach in UK schools has claimed.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools questioned hundreds of graduates as part of a campaign to urge science and maths graduates to consider a change of profession. It found that although three-quarters had expected to use their degree at work, more than a third do so either rarely or never. And 46 per cent said that was the cause of unhappiness in their job.

The TDA believes this disparity between expectations and reality could work to its advantage, with 55 per cent of those who took part in the study saying that they believe teaching is a profession that would allow them to build on the knowledge they acquired at university.

TDA chief executive Graham Holley admitted that attracting sufficient number of maths and science graduates into teaching has been a problem for some time. The agency is aiming to recruit up to 6,000 teachers with a science and maths background for the next school year, and has had to introduce ‘golden hellos’ worth up to £5,000 as an incentive.

“Our research shows that there is a veritable untapped goldmine of maths and science teachers out there with a great knowledge of – and commitment to – their subject,” said Holley. “Science and maths teachers get to use their knowledge daily, often in creative and rewarding ways. They are privileged to be able to pass on their passion for their subject. And up-to-the-minute professional development can keep a teacher's subject knowledge at the cutting edge. Too many talented individuals waste their skills and knowledge in dead-end jobs without the rewards that teaching can bring.”

Qualified teachers starting work this year will begin on a minimum salary of £20,627 a year, on a scale that can progress to £53,155 for those with specialist skills.

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