Over one in five secondary school maths lessons taught by teacher without degree in the subject

The Independent, in its take of the latest teacher recruitment figures, is reporting that more than one in five secondary school maths lessons is now taught by a teacher without a degree in the subject…

Teacher-recruitment problems in maths, as well as in English and science, have led to increasing numbers of classes being taught by staff without relevant university qualifications, according to statistics released by the Department for Education.

The figures show that 20.2 per cent of maths lessons were taught by a teacher without a relevant degree, up from 17.3 per cent in 2013. In English, around one in six lessons (17 per cent) were taught by a non-specialist, up from 15.2 per cent the previous year. In science, nearly one in seven lessons (13.6 per cent) were taught by someone without a relevant degree against 14.8 per cent in 2013.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that headteachers were forced to get non-specialists to deliver key subjects because it was increasingly difficult for them to recruit teachers with relevant degrees, particularly in maths and science.

“These figures confirm our fears,” he said. “We are very concerned about the situation. It is very serious and it is acting as a barrier to the Government achieving its ambitions. Much more needs to be done to attract people into the teaching profession, particularly in these shortage subjects.”

The figures also showed that nearly one in 20 teachers (4.5 per cent) does not have a teaching qualification, up from 3.7 per cent the previous year…

More at: Over one in five secondary school maths lessons taught by teacher without degree in the subject 


Separating for a moment the two situations described here – teachers without degrees in the subject they teach and those without a teaching qualifications – and focussing on the former, how much of an issue do you think  this is?

How important is it for a teacher to have a degree in the subject they are teaching?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


Teacher recruitment - genuine crisis or challenge that is being managed?


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Rise in school teacher vacancies in England
Schools minister Nick Gibb: 'There is no recruitment crisis'
Categories: Teaching.


  1. chessgorilla

    SchoolsImprove maths degree not necessary. School maths very different to degree level maths. An A at A-level & a degree would suffice.

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Is this really a problem? As long as the material is is delivered an accessible way then don’t see an issue

  3. tessmaths

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove solutions
    1) Scrap QTS tests
    2) Every Trust & Maths Hub to run SKE
    3) Recruit in Ireland – there’s a glut

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Schools have to make a decision: classes of 60 and a teacher with a maths qual or classes of 30 and a teacher without

  5. andylutwyche

    tessmaths SchoolsImprove Really?! Ireland has an excess of maths teachers? Well I never – that would save on air fares for lots of schools

  6. tessmaths

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Both North and South – regularly 40+ applicants for every post – little chance of progression as few move on

  7. tessmaths

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove need a short conversion course for our curriculum but it has worked very well for many…get the coaches ready

  8. andylutwyche

    tessmaths SchoolsImprove Why are schools going to Australia, the USA, Canada etc then? Get them in!

  9. andylutwyche

    jwscattergood SchoolsImprove At GCSE level it’s more about delivery to be fair; content not a huge problem

  10. tessmaths

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Canada is good too but we need to get back to Ireland – we used to regularly & some areas do recruit there now

  11. andylutwyche

    jwscattergood SchoolsImprove Mainly for the teacher as they’d still be expected to do the marking etc

  12. Dai_James1942

    SchoolsImprove Could go up. I know little maths but the all-wise educational establishment has deemed me qualified to teach it.

  13. Studentsos

    Dai_James1942 SchoolsImprove nightmare! We might as well have MPs teaching in classrooms if we are supposed to teach whatever is needed!

Let us know what you think...