In March 2016, NFER and Sheffield Hallam Institute of Education were commissioned by the Department for Education and the National College for Teaching and Leadership to undertake an early process evaluation of the Maths and Physics Teacher Supply Package. The evaluation focused on four of the eight strands in the package: Paid Internships for penultimate year undergraduates; Maths and Physics Chairs, which supports post-doctoral researchers to enter teaching; Return to Teaching (RTT) targeted at inactive teachers; and Teacher Subject Specialism Training (TSST) for non-specialist maths and physics teachers.
The evaluation included 25 interviews with providers, 48 initial interviews with participants, 40 participant follow-ups and a survey of 882 TSST participants.
- Early data suggests variation in the effectiveness of strands, with Paid Internships and TSST working effectively so far.
- Key success factors include: well-conceived and high-quality content and delivery, including real classroom experience; existing provider expertise; central placement of schools within delivery models; and effective promotion drawing on existing networks/partnerships, including with universities.
- Paid Internships have achieved good levels of recruitment and retention, and met intended early outcomes for participants. The Maths and Physics Chairs strand faced a retention issue during the time of the research and, whilst RTT met its recruitment target, other barriers remain for many returning teachers, such as issues in securing school experience.
- Paid Internships, Maths and Physics Chairs and TSST are showing early potential for a good level of additionality i.e. recruiting additional trainees/teachers who would not otherwise enter teaching.
- Areas for development include: ensuring classroom experience is an integral feature; facilitating wider sharing of effective practice; reviewing messaging to schools to ensure support for all strands; and ensuring consistent and quality monitoring data is collected.