Schools short of 800 teach­ers, ad­mits SNP

Re­cruit­ment goals missed in key sub­jects, fig­ures show

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Gra­ham Grant Home Af­fairs Edi­tor

SCOT­LAND’S schools are in the grip of a grow­ing staffing cri­sis as of­fi­cial fig­ures re­veal more than 800 teacher va­can­cies across the coun­try.

The statis­tics also show re­cruit­ment goals in key sub­jects have been missed, with more than half the tar­get num­ber of train­ing places for maths empty.

The find­ings come af­ter Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary John Swin­ney claimed Scot­land was ‘very much at the low end of the spec­trum in­ter­na­tion­ally’ in terms of teacher short­ages. Scot­tish Tory ed­u­ca­tion spokesman Liz Smith de­scribed the fig­ures as ‘deeply wor­ry­ing’. She said: ‘In re­cent months, we have seen pri­vate ap­peals be­ing made by some head­teach­ers, par­ents and even pupils to find teach­ers who can ur­gently fill va­can­cies and en­sure that pupils are prop­erly taught.

‘This con­cern... ties in ex­actly with the ev­i­dence heard by the Scot­tish par­lia­ment’s ed­u­ca­tion and skills com­mit­tee just two months ago, and it is more proof teacher work­force planning is not work­ing well enough.’

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment fig­ures show there were 536 va­can­cies in Scot­land’s sec­on­daries in a ‘snap­shot sur­vey’ in Septem­ber.

Ex­clud­ing heads and de­putes, the num­ber of va­can­cies was 507, com­pared with 411 the same time last year. Of these, 268 had been un­filled for at least three months.

In pre-schools and pri­maries, there were 309 va­can­cies, com­pared with 274 last year, and of them 174 had been un­filled for at least three months. This sug­gests the to­tal pub­lished to­tal of va­can­cies in pri­maries and sec­on­daries in Septem­ber was 845. There are 1,226 peo­ple

‘Not work­ing well enough’

in Scot­land cur­rently study­ing to be­come sec­ondary teach­ers – 70 per cent of the over­all in­take tar­get of 1,750 set by the Scot­tish Fund­ing Coun­cil (SFC) for 2017-18. But only 36 of this group are train­ing to be tech­no­log­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers – 29 per cent of the tar­get of 124.

The SFC had set the goal of re­cruit­ing 237 stu­dent maths teach­ers. But this year’s fig­ures show that there are only 112 such stu­dents, 47 per cent of the tar­get num­ber.

For English, there were 155 re­cruits against a tar­get of 247 – 63 per cent of the tar­get. Over­all, 3,861 peo­ple were train­ing to teach in pri­mary or sec­ondary schools, com­pared to a tar­get of 4,058. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment stressed the per­ma­nent teacher va­cancy rate is 1.6 per cent of the over­all teach­ing work­force.

Last night Larry Flanagan, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the EIS teach­ing union, said: ‘The so­lu­tions to at­tract­ing greater num­bers of qual­i­fied peo­ple into teach­ing are ac­tions to re­duce heavy teacher work­load and the de­liv­ery of sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments to teach­ers’ pay.’

Mr Swin­ney said: ‘It is dis­ap­point­ing the tar­gets set for some sec­ondary sub­jects have not been met.

‘How­ever, along­side the £20,000 STEM [sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and maths] bur­saries I re­cently an­nounced for ca­reer chang­ers, and the in­creased in­ter­est we have seen among un­der­grad­u­ates as a re­sult of our re­cruit­ment cam­paign, we ex­pect to see the num­ber of peo­ple train­ing as teach­ers con­tin­u­ing to rise.’

Tar­gets: John Swin­ney

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