The Science Technician Workforce in English Secondary Schools

Jack Worth

24 November 2020

The National Foundation for Educational Research were commissioned by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and the Gatsby Foundation to research on how science technician provision in secondary schools in England has changed since 2011/12. The research used data from the Department for Education’s School Workforce Census and also explores the characteristics, pay and contractual arrangements of the school science technician workforce.

The report reveals that there has been no significant improvement in the pay and employment conditions of school science technicians over the past decade. The report also finds that the number of science technicians and the amount of support they provide for secondary school science departments has fallen steadily since 2011/12.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The median full-time equivalent science technician annual salary has been flat in real-terms between 2011/12 and 2018/19 – having grown at roughly the rate of inflation. Most of the science technician workforce is employed on a term-time only basis, which comes with a significantly lower salary compared to those technicians on a full-year contract.
  • Since 2011/12, the average number of FTE science technicians per school has fallen by 16 per cent. The proportion of schools at or above the Association for Science Education’s suggested minimum service factor threshold of 0.65 (a measure of an adequate level of support) has fallen from 21 to 15 per cent of secondary schools.
  • Regions in the north of England have considerably lower levels of science technician support than in London and the south of England. Schools with less-deprived pupil intakes tend to have higher levels of science technician support than schools with more-deprived pupil intakes.

Sponsor Details

The Royal Society of Chemistry, Gatsby Foundation