One in four school staff lack a degree in the key subject they teach.

The Daily Mail reports that more than a quarter of teachers in many key subjects do not have a relevant degree in their field – and the problem is getting worse, research suggests.

Some 37.5 per cent of physics teachers do not have any post-A-Level qualification in the science, despite thousands of children relying on them to help them pass exams.

A recruitment crisis in the secondary school sector has seen this figure rise by 4 percentage points in two years. There are also shortages of chemistry and maths teachers with relevant qualifications, according to analysis by school recruitment experts TeachVac.

Some 27.1 per cent of chemistry teachers and 26.3 per cent of maths teachers do not have a degree in the subject.

That is on top of shortages in English, history, geography and French and other languages.

Lib Dem education spokesman John Pugh said: ‘Parents should be aghast at this as will most teachers, as their job is a profession.”

“The Government need to get a grip on this crisis. We need to stop allowing schools to be able to grab virtually anyone off the street and allow them to teach anything from physics to advanced maths.”

Last night the National Union of Teachers said that, according to its own survey, 68 per cent of staff said that in the past year the number of professionals teaching subjects they were not qualified in had increased.

Kevin Courtney, the union’s general secretary, said: ‘This is happening as a result of a combination of the school funding crisis and a teacher recruitment crisis.’

A Department for Education spokesman said the proportion of all teachers with a degree in any subject had increased by 3 per cent since 2010.

Read more One in four school staff lack a degree in the key subject they teach. 

Has the recruitment crisis made you one of the 1 in 4 teachers teaching a subject without the relevant qualification? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Tooth brushing clubs to be set up in 40 schools and nurseries in Sheffield
Generation game: what can students and the elderly teach each other?
Categories: Budgets, Employment, Secondary and Teaching.


  1. Taking a degree is a CHOICE. Not everyone chooses to go to University. And some people who choose other paths may have gained as much knowledge, experience and understanding in another line of study or work. Teaching is a skill, and one that does need to be learned and nurtured. The focus should be more on teachers being trained and qualified to teach, not the fact that they haven’t got the right specialism! Once you can teach, you have the skills to pretty much teach anything providing you have an understanding of the subject for the correct key stage – and that can be from any source!

Let us know what you think...