More than one third of WA public school teachers are aged 50 or older, the state’s Department of Education has revealed.

Workforce Executive Director Cliff Gillam said figures showed that 38 per cent of the Department’s 24,587 teaching staff had the potential to retire in the next 10 to 15 years.

He said while every WA public school class began the 2015 school year with a qualified teacher, unless more teachers trained in specialist learning areas, the outlook in the future may not be so positive.

“Based on current projections, we anticipate some schools may find it difficult to recruit the additional teachers they will need for upper secondary school classes for 2016,” he said.

“This is particularly true in the learning areas of mathematics, physics and chemistry.”

Mr Gillam said the Department had expanded its successful Switch program to train teachers of lower secondary mathematics and science to develop skills and experience to move into upper secondary classes.

“We will also offer a further Switch opportunity for teachers to retrain in design and technology from January next year to build the supply of design and technology teachers,” he said.

“Alongside these efforts, we continue to encourage university graduates to choose to work in public schools and be flexible about their choice of school location."