People considering a career as a secondary teacher of physics received a boost yesterday (November 8th) when the government unveiled a new £2 million per year scholarship scheme for trainee physics teachers.
In partnership with the Department for Education (DfE), the Institute of Physics (IOP) will recruit 100 physics graduates with either first class or 2:1 degrees each year to a new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) scheme.
While at the moment only secondary physics teachers are able to apply for the scholarship, the DfE said that it hopes to roll-out the scheme to other specialist subjects by the 2013/2014 academic year.
Those wishing to train as teachers of physics or physics with maths who successfully apply for the scholarship will be awarded £20,000 per year, as the government seeks to fill the shortage of specialist teachers in the subjects.
According to IOP research, over the next fifteen years England will need 1,000 physics teachers to fill the gap in the subject.
In 2010 the number of trainee physics teachers recruited to ITT courses fell 275 short of demand.
Announcing the new ITT scholarship, Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "If we want to have an education system that ranks with the best in the world, we must attract outstanding people into the profession, and we must give them outstanding training."
He added that the scholarship will help improve England's physics education by ensuring excellent teachers with deep subject knowledge are at the forefront of classroom learning.
It is anticipated that after the scholarship the IOP will continue relations with teachers from the scheme, allowing a community of physicists in schools, universities and industry to form for the benefit of the nation's science education.
Director of Education and Science at the Institute of Physics, Professor Peter Main, said: "We are saying to people with a love of physics and a good academic record – 'choose teaching: it is a job that will reward you and exploit your abilities to the full'."