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Shortage of Maths/MFL teachers to be sorted by using PE teachers to fill the gaps, says DfE

(57 Posts)
noblegiraffe Mon 23-Oct-17 19:30:52

The government is flailing about wildly trying to solve the shortage of teachers (Hey, how about treating current teachers well enough that they don't want to quit? No?), we've had Troops to Teachers, Old People to Teachers, they're looking at TAs to Teachers and People Without A Degree to Teachers. They've now hit on a sure-fire solution.

PE is one of the rare subjects that isn't struggling to recruit, so they're going to set up a route that officially trains PE teachers to teach PE, but also expects them to teach any Ebacc subject they have an A-level in.

This has always gone on unofficially, but now, for these teachers it will be an expectation.

Because the skills needed to teach PE are just the same as those needed to teach Maths or MFL hmm

Darkblueskies Mon 23-Oct-17 19:34:36

Excellent. One of the PE teachers at my school reckoned that she could teach MFL as she was 'really good at Spanish'. She had a GCSE.

At least this scheme is asking for A level....

noblegiraffe Mon 23-Oct-17 19:47:30

The idea that subject knowledge is the only thing that counts in the classroom is bonkers. Subject-specific training is vital. Different subjects require totally different approaches - I was hopeless at teaching PSHE because maths doesn't require debates, circle time or any of that sort of thing. I'd be hopeless at any subject that requires the kids to do extended writing as I've not been trained to facilitate it.

ArbitraryName Mon 23-Oct-17 19:52:22

Setting aside any other issues, this seems like a sure fire way to ensure that PE struggles to recruit teachers as much as any other subject. Great plan DfE.

Darkblueskies Mon 23-Oct-17 20:09:21

I'm an MFL teacher who has to teach all sorts of subjects because my subject is barely needed anymore, so I do understand that we are now in an age where anyone teaches anything!! Lucky to have qts in some cases.

My colleague is PE trained and he is now teaching Maths. He had no understanding of how much work goes into planning lessons or marking. So you're right, subject specific training is important.

tissuesosoft Mon 23-Oct-17 20:11:55

We have teachers who teach PE, Geography and Maths- all three on their timetable! DT teachers teaching maths and business. And a few other combinations. It's working great hmm

CharlotteCollinsneeLucas Mon 23-Oct-17 20:12:02

I wonder how many PE teachers have maths A level? Can't be a huge proportion, surely?

DorothyL Mon 23-Oct-17 20:34:24

In Germany teachers routinely teach two different subjects, say biology and French, but they are educated to DEGREE level in both subjects.

GHGN Mon 23-Oct-17 22:50:15

My 4yo DD has more interlectual capacity and better decision making ability than these people. Even taking into account that sometimes she decides to eat all her sweets at the beginning of the week and has nothing for the other 6 days, she is still better smile

chosenone Mon 23-Oct-17 22:56:30

I teach an Arts subject and an Ebacc subject I have an A Level in. I also teach RE, don't even have a GCSE in it!

Peregrina Mon 23-Oct-17 22:56:48

A paragraph towards the bottom of the link in the first posting, says that PE teachers used to be trained in two subjects until the 90s. So why not re-introduce that requirement? At least then they would have some idea of how to teach their other subject properly, and would get some practice whilst training.

Hugepeppapigfan Mon 23-Oct-17 22:59:39

I know a PE teacher who is teaching maths as well as PE. Only GCSE and A Level students get a teacher actually qualified to teach maths at this particular school.....

jo164 Tue 24-Oct-17 10:31:52

I'm a PE teacher who has maths A level for one of you who asked. When I trained - albeit 20 years ago, all secondary PE students had to take a second subject - which we studied at degree level for 2 years and had to teach on our assessed teaching practices. This was deemed a sensible thing for us to have in case sporting injury made it difficult to continue teaching PE, or if we stuck at teaching long enough maybe we wouldn't want to be running around a sports pitch at 60 yrs old. I have consequently taught maths from yr 5 up to yr 11 during different times of my teaching career. Subject knowledge however is important and I was trained to teach maths. It has been a huge asset for me to be able to teach both subjects confidently - the problem now is that all the 4 year teaching degrees have been axed in favour of PGCE, so there would be little time to study 2 subjects and undertake teaching practice. I am always irritated however by the assumption that PE teachers are too stupid to be teaching anything academic. Just because people have a passion for sport doesn't make them incapable of being intellectual as well.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 24-Oct-17 10:34:07

PE teachers have been teaching Maths for ages. Very common second subject IME.

eddiemairswife Tue 24-Oct-17 10:43:30

Primary teachers teach all subjects!

TheFallenMadonna Tue 24-Oct-17 10:52:44

Not to a level that they have not reached themselves. I sincerely hope.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 24-Oct-17 11:02:40

Oh, I see it is in a subject they have an A level in. Sorry!

Orangeplastic Tue 24-Oct-17 11:34:55

I was taught English by my PE teacher in the 80s. She was a lazy PE teacher and unsurprisingly her enthusiasm for teaching English was pretty poor too.

noblegiraffe Tue 24-Oct-17 17:24:16

Training to teach two subjects would be fine. What is being suggested is doing a bit of study which is not examined, and not being trained in those subjects at all. This is a terrible idea!

cantkeepawayforever Tue 24-Oct-17 17:34:01

Not to a level that they have not reached themselves. I sincerely hope.

As a consequence of my asthma not being controlled until my late teens, my level in almost the entire PE curriculum is below that of the key stage I teach. I have had subject-specific CPD in PE, but i would still say that in the more specialist branches - e.g. gymnastics - I teach what I cannot do myself.

Equally, when the primary computing curriculum first moved to be much more coding-based, I would say that the vast majority of older primary teachers were teaching beyond a level that they had reached themselves.

Bobbybobbins Tue 24-Oct-17 17:39:22

I am a English teacher with a degree in English and have also been expected to teach: RE, drama, Government and Politics (very very badly) with not even a GCSE in any of them confused

Lily2007 Tue 24-Oct-17 23:23:30

They do teach all subjects in primary but DD had one very honest teacher who gave them a maths test in y5 then said some of you have scored more than me in this test. He also refused to teach French saying he didn't know any French, would just hand out worksheets and say learn it for yourselves.

I would imagine some PE teachers could teach other subjects well but some would struggle. I hope they at least have access to good training. My Mum was a PE teacher and as she got older would have preferred to teach something else and not have to keep fit.

mudangel Wed 25-Oct-17 14:15:53

This seems like a sensible plan to me. However, they're not "using PE teachers to fill the gaps", they're encouraging trainee teachers to train in more than one specialism if they are able to do so.

The carrot is greater availability of places for otherwise-oversubscribed teacher-training courses. Hopefully you're not suggesting they should just lift the cap on recruitment to these courses even though there is already a very strong supply of PE teachers?!

As somebody up-thread said, in the past it was a requirement for PE teachers to be able to teach more than one subject. This new measure doesn't go that far, but seems to be a sensible compromise.

For too long, we had a "supply and demand" culture in higher education - it's good to see the supply (of places on PE courses) being linked to need, whilst still leaving the door open for the best PE-only candidates to succeed too.

noblegiraffe Wed 25-Oct-17 23:43:56

Where did you see that they would be trained in more than one specialism? That would be good, but the article merely referred to some extra study in the other subjects which would not be assessed.

Studying the subject is only part of it, subject specific training is really important. You wouldn't want a science teacher who hadn't been trained in health and safety in practical experiments but from this it looks like they could end up being one (I'd expect a lot of PE teachers to have done biology A-level?).

Rufus27 Wed 25-Oct-17 23:50:39

We already have PE and humanities teachers teaching Y7 French this year. Also PE teaching science. They seem to be given lower ability sets as if that somehow justifies it.

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