Senior Tory Peter Luff said the UK needed to produce more engineers to keep up with global competition

MP calls for engineers to teach in schools

Engineers and scientists should be allowed to teach in schools without formal teaching qualifications, MPs have been told.

Senior Tory Peter Luff said experienced professionals would be a better alternative than teachers who were qualified in other subject areas.

The former defence minister said the UK needed to produce more engineers to keep up with global competition.

Luff said his plan "sweeps away all restrictions on schools using professional engineers and scientists from local employers to teach maths and physics where they have teacher shortages".

He said: "Better to be taught by an enthusiastic young professional who can show the value of the subject to a sceptical class than by a good, professional teacher in other subjects with no training in maths or physics."

His Science, Technology and Engineering (Careers information in Schools) Bill would also require schools to provide opportunities to gain a greater understanding of the careers on offer in manufacturing.

It would also require local enterprise partnerships to help schools in that task.

The Bill draws on the recommendation in Lord Heseltine's report on growth to require school governing bodies to include a representative of a local science, technology or manufacturing firm.

The Department for Education would be required to support engineering awareness schemes.

"I'm just not convinced the department understands the vital importance of helping young people to make informed career choices," he said.

Luff, a former chairman of the Commons Business Select Committee, said: "Recent experience has convinced me that the shortage of engineering and technological skills is one of the greatest avoidable threats to our nation's prosperity and security."

His Bill was given an unopposed first reading but is unlikely to make further progress due to a lack of parliamentary time.

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