The government will put a £67m push behind the teaching of maths, science and digital skills in schools next year.
The prime minister David Cameron is set to announce the creation of a National College for Digital Skills in London today (8th December) which will be “up and running by 2015”, working with student, industry and education providers to train the "digital innovators of the future", before establishing centres across the country. Around 7,500 maths and science teachers will also receive specialist training over the next five years to raise the quality of maths and science teaching in schools above current levels.
The push will cost £67m and the government hopes the scheme will attract more postgraduates, researchers and career-changers into the vocation along with providing extensive retraining for non-specialist teachers.
Cameron said the move would help the UK to compete with other countries for the best jobs in the world and for the British workforce to have “the right skills to compete in a global economy.”
Before hosting a digital event at Downing Street to mark the start of the Hour of Code campaign, with 50 school children learning code, Cameron said: “There’s no secret to success in the modern world. If countries are going to win in the global race and children compete and get the best jobs, you need mathematicians and scientists – pure and simple. So today, we commit to deliver more maths and science teachers.”
He added the move was part of the government’s long-term economic plan for Britain to make sure children have the skills they need to “thrive and get on.”
The Association of School and College Leaders warned recently that schools would have to recruit from overseas to fill vacancies, including maths and science teachers and the shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt blamed the current recruitment problem on the government’s changes to education recruitment policy. "For three years in a row, David Cameron's government has missed its own teacher recruitment targets, creating a crisis situation,” Hunt said. "Shortfalls in the recruitment of maths and physics teachers are especially concerning."
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