Holyrood 2016: Trainee teachers fallen by more than 1,000

Teacher numbers have dropped since the SNP took office in 2007. Picture: Steven Brown

Teacher numbers have dropped since the SNP took office in 2007. Picture: Steven Brown

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The SNP’s education record has come under fire after it emerged the number of trainee teachers in Scotland has fallen by more than 1,000.

There were just over 2,500 people on the teaching induction scheme at last year’s annual teacher census, down from 3,500 in 2007 when the Nationalists came to power, according to figures obtained in a Parliamentary answer by Labour.

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said the numbers cast more doubt on the SNP’s commitment to invest in education. Under the SNP, teacher numbers have already been cut by more than 4,000.

Ms Dugdale said: “Investing in education means building a fairer Scotland where every young person has the best possible start in life, and gives our people the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the future.

“Under the SNP the number of probationer teachers has dropped by more than a quarter and there are more cuts on the way.”

Councils are facing cuts of about £500 million after spending reductions in the recent Scottish budget. Teacher numbers are being protected, but other school support services, like classroom assistants, will be hit.

But a spokesman for the SNP said Labour is “completely devoid of ideas”.

He added: “The reality is that the SNP has maintained teacher numbers in government with a higher proportion of probationer teachers now in permanent or temporary posts than ever before.”

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