December 2015

The know zone

  • Preventative measures
    The new Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a significant responsibility on schools and colleges and leaders need to ensure they have plans in place to help carry out their duty, says Anna Cole. More
  • Outstanding performance
    Expecting parents to show up out of a sense of duty to your open event no longer cuts the mustard. Every classroom has to be an ‘experience’ and the head’s speech must be a show-stopper, says Carl Smith. More
  • Laws of attraction
    The government has pledged to train an extra 17,500 maths and physics teachers over the next five years. Here, ASCL members share their views on what would work best to make this happen. More
  • Leaders' surgery
    Hotline advice expressed here, and in calls to us, is made in good faith to our members. Schools and colleges should always take formal HR or legal advice from their indemnified provider before acting. More
  • Know your options
    Stephen Casey explains the new laws on freedom and choice in pensions and highlights what you can do to boost your pension at retirement. More
  • A common purpose
    Much of the philosophy of ASCL’s Blueprint applies to both independent and state schools so we should join forces to deliver it, says Barbara Stanley. More
  • Quick CPD wins
    Ten top tips to help you plan and refresh your continuing professional development (CPD) curriculum for staff. More
  • Providing direction for the next generation
    Careermap is a leading new website for 16–24 year-old’s looking for a pathway into apprenticeships and early careers. Since its launch earlier this year, the website is rapidly becoming the go-to place for young people seeking new opportunities in all career sectors. More
  • Professional Learning
    When describing your school’s professional learning, how many of these points can you say yes to? More
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The government has pledged to train an extra 17,500 maths and physics teachers over the next five years. Here, ASCL members share their views on what would work best to make this happen.

Laws of attraction

Raise salaries

I think that raising the salaries of teachers is often a motivator. However, I believe that core subject teachers, such as for mathematics or English, should be on a higher pay scale due to their work load and the expectations placed on them. In my view, mathematics should be compulsory at A level for all examination boards. There should be fewer subjects at GCSE so that teachers can focus on the core subjects and a few select subjects of interest to the students.

Darren Kelly- Head of Mathematics, St Mary’s School – an independent girls’ day and boarding school, Cambridge

Golden handcuffs

The solution is so simple it can be offered much more succinctly: stop handing out ‘golden handshakes’ to new recruits and instead offer ‘golden handcuffs’ to experienced teachers.

I make this suggestion because I believe the crux of the matter is how we keep good and outstanding teachers in education, not how we recruit them. Providing incentives to new teachers is a short-term fix, with too many of them taking the bait but leaving after three or four years. Some of the cash being used to tempt graduates in to teaching should be used to offer mid- to long-term service and performance rewards.

This would then motivate colleagues to stay in the profession for the long haul.

Glenn Smith - Principal, Honiton Community College, Honiton, Devon


Twenty-three years into a career as a physics teacher masquerading as a vice principal, and having just sent my son to study mathematics at university, I am acutely aware of the need to attract high-calibre scientifically minded graduates into our profession. My suggestion is to expose these agile and able young minds to people like me – young, fresh and excitable 48 year-olds who are as enthusiastic now for conveying the magic of our subject as ever we were.

Of all the roles and responsibilities I have held in teaching, working with newly and nearly qualified teachers has been the pinnacle. Passing on knowledge and skill, developing enthusiasm and passion, and moulding life-long teachers is wonderful. So whether it is a science show for the local brownies, a visit to the young farmers or delving into final year university physics classes, let me at ‘em!

Tony Bown - Vice Principal, Ormiston Denes Academy, Lowestoft, Suffolk

Subject specialism training

Our school is one of a number of schools that are working with the DfE to drive recruitment. We are doing this by offering teacher subject specialism training. We offer a subject knowledge enhancement course for teachers who would like to return to teaching mathematics (whom have been out of teaching for a while), and for teachers who would like to be able to teach mathematics in addition or instead of their current subject.

We are offering the opportunity to also gain 30 master’s levels credits, and the courses are free. The DfE website has a directory of schools that are offering the courses (see

Katy Newman - Teacher of Mathematics/ Coordinator of Subject Knowledge Enhancement, Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College, Altrincham, Greater Manchester