Increase incentives to retain STEM teachers urges IMechE
17 Apr 2019
Financial incentives and better career development are essential to stem the loss of STEM subject teachers from schools, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has warned.
Head of education & skills for the organisation, Peter Finegold, was speaking after the release of a survey by the National Education Union (NEU) which laid bare the extent of job dissatisfaction among UK teachers.
He said the problem continued to be particularly acute among those teaching science and engineering-related subjects.
“The problem of teacher retention is especially challenging for engineering related subjects such as science and maths,” said Finegold.
“Analysis by the National Foundation for Educational Research shows how those qualified in physics or engineering were 87% more likely to leave teaching within five years than their non-STEM colleagues.”
The NEU’s recent survey of its more than 8,000-strong membership revealed 40% expected to have quit their job within five years.
Among new teachers – those who have been working in the profession between two and five years – more than a quarter (26%) say they expect to leave within the same period.
Said Finegold: “We believe that offering financial incentives through rewarding early career teachers at key pinch-points will help increase numbers of these vital STEM teachers.”
The problem of teacher retention is especially challenging for engineering related subjects such as science and maths
Peter Finegold, head of education & skills, IMechE
However, more work was needed too in providing more comprehensive continuing professional development (CPD), he cautioned.
Although the Government’s Early Careers framework had acknowledged this need, the professional support was limited to the recruit’s first 12 months said Finegold, adding: “We should encourage this approach throughout a teacher’s career.”