Schools short of 800 teachers, admits SNP
Recruitment goals missed in key subjects, figures show
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