MP for Windsor
Working Hard For You
Teaching of STEM subjects in schools

Mr Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics there were in UK secondary schools in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14.

Mr David Laws (Minister of State for Schools): The following table provides the number of science (by separate science subject), technology, engineering and mathematics teachers in service in publicly funded secondary schools in England in November of each year from 2011 to 2013: [1], [2]

Subject [3] 2011 2012 2013
Physics 5,900 6,000 6,200
Chemistry 6,900 7,200 7,400
Biology 8,500 8,700 8,800
Combined/General Science 34,700 32,700 32,900
Other Sciences 2,800 2,400 2,400
Technology 14,800 13,800 13,400
Engineering 1,600 1,500 1,500
Mathematics 35,200 32,800 33,300

Source: School Workforce Census

[1] Figures are based on a large sample of over 70% of secondary schools.

[2] Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

[3] Each teacher is counted once under each subject they teach.


Funding crisis for physics research

Adam Afriyie (Shadow Minister, Innovation, Universities and Skills; Windsor, Conservative): I am disappointed to hear the Minister boasting once again about science funding and physics funding, because as a direct result of his decision on STFC funding last year, physicists are saying that there is a crisis. Astronomers, researchers and the Royal Astronomical Society also say that there is a crisis. Does he accept that there is a crisis, or does he think that they are all wrong?

Ian Pearson (Minister of State (Science and Innovation), Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills; Dudley South, Labour): I am aware of the number of representations that I have had from the astronomy community and the particle physics community as a result of the STFC’s settlement, but we should look at the facts. There will be no cuts to particle physics grants in the coming financial year. The research grants to astronomy are at their highest level for many years. We have seen a doubling in the science budget. We are spending over £500 million on physics a year, and that figure will go up over the next three years. So we have a sound track record of major investment in physics. Physics is one of the great strengths of the United Kingdom, and I am sure that the Wakeham review will want to take a broad look overall at the health of the discipline.