Jim Cunningham – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Jim Cunningham on 2016-01-18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 12 January 2016 to Question 22118, what steps her Department is taking to tackle shortfalls of mathematics teachers in state-funded primary schools; and if she will make a statement.

Nick Gibb

The number of primary teachers in state funded primary schools in England is the highest on record, and we exceeded our target for primary postgraduate trainee teachers for 2015/16.

Excellent mathematics teaching in primary schools is a high priority for this government, and we have taken a number of steps to promote this.

We have established a national network of 35 Maths Hubs, backed by £11million of funding to raise standards in mathematics. These centres of excellence are helping schools to improve the quality of their mathematics teaching. Through the Maths Hub network we are making improvements via exchanges with Shanghai, as Hubs develop a deep understanding of the ‘mastery’ approach to mathematics teaching and trial its implementation within schools. We also fund good quality mathematics professional development opportunities for primary teachers through The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.

In addition, we have encouraged the development of primary mathematics specialist and specialism initial teacher training (ITT) courses, to allow trainee primary teachers to specialise in the subject. Since 2013/14 we have provided an ITT bursary uplift for trainees on these courses. This means that trainees with a B grade at mathematics A level, or equivalent knowledge, receive a higher bursary than those who train on primary general courses. For courses starting in 2016/17 primary mathematics specialists with a 1st class, 2:1 or 2:2 degree will receive a £6,000 bursary, compared to the maximum £3,000 bursary for primary general trainees.