BUSY teachers are being offered the chance to retrain for free as schools deal with a severe shortage in some areas.

Poole Teacher Specialism Training (PSST) is bringing together several schools in a bid to get more people teaching maths, core maths, modern foreign languages and physics.

Teachers will carry on teaching their own subjects, but will be given time to train in additional subject where recruitment is proving hard.

The initiative involves Poole and Parkstone grammars, Poole High, St Edward’s, Lytchett Minster, Purbeck and Quay schools, as well as the private Yarrells Preparatory School.

Andrew Smith of Yarrells, who leads the physics element, said: “There are several local secondary schools that are struggling to recruit physics teachers. They’ve gone out to advertise multiple times. They can’t find candidates.

“We hope we can plug that gap to some extent by offering opportunities for a bit of retraining.”

He said there were fewer people training and more teachers reaching retirement age.

“I think it’s been building up over time. I think generally there’s a crisis in teaching recruitment,” he said.

He added: “We’re determined to provide our young people with well skilled, inspirational teaching."

Andy Oldman, who teaches maths at Poole Grammar, said previous years’ versions of the scheme had trained around 40 people to become maths teachers.

“That’s not to say they’ve become full-time maths teachers but they will be mostly teaching their subject with a bit of maths additionally,” he said.

“The Department for Education have admitted we will still not be able to recruit enough maths teachers in the coming years simply through the normal entry route into teacher training.”

He said the extra training was demanding but schools were encouraged to support their staff. “We do ask head teachers to be sympathetic to the situation and also offer them continuing professional development time in school,” he said.

Vicky Lethbridge, head of languages at Parkstone Grammar, said the feedback on previous courses had been good.

“I had a science teacher sign up for the language course. She described it as fantastic professional development. It gave her the opportunity to really improve her French, which she was really pleased to be able to do,” she added.

Flyers have gone out to schools, with workshops in pedagogy due to begin this autumn.

Details are at pooletsst.co.uk