The UK is facing a serious deficit of specialist physics teachers in schools, a new study has warned.
Researchers at the University of Buckingham found that the number of applications to physics teacher training courses dropped by 27 per cent over the last year, as the subject continues to decline in popularity among students.
At the same time, retiring physics teachers now outnumber new recruits by 26 per cent, the report said.
Although most independent and grammar schools - which largely still teach single sciences - still retain a specialist teacher, the shortage is acute in many low-performning secondary schools.
Professor Alan Smithers, who led the research, stated: "If you're in an inner-city, 11-16 school in London, Liverpool or Manchester, there will more likely than not be no specialist physics teacher available."
He suggested that the trend for state schools to teach triple award science may be to blame, although Barry Fawcett from the National Union of Teachers recently argued that student debt and low salaries are discouraging graduates from entering the teaching profession.