Nationalist ministers have been accused of “badly letting down our schools” after new figures showed the number of teachers working in Scotland’s schools has fallen for the ninth year in a row.
Opposition parties made the claim came as it emerged that almost a third of Scotland’s councils have cut teacher numbers despite making a deal with the Scottish Government not to do so.
Local authorities had pledged to maintain the number of teaching staff as part of a funding deal with ministers but new figures from the government showed ten out of the 32 had reduced numbers.
In Scotland’s largest local authority, Glasgow City Council, the number of teachers fell by 45 to 4,838 while North Lanarkshire had the largest drop (58) to a workforce of 3,465.
Scotland has the equivalent of 50,717 full-time teachers working in classrooms, according to the data, down very slightly from the 2014 total of 50,720.
The number of youngsters attending school increased by more than 5,000 to 390,981, but the ratio of pupils to teachers remained steady at 13.7.
The latest statistic is 4,383 lower than when the SNP came to power in 2007, when there were more than 55,000 teachers working in schools across the country.
Scottish Conservative young people spokeswoman Liz Smith said the findings showed the SNP’s pledge to maintain teacher numbers was “in tatters”.
However, education secretary Angela Constance said the Scottish Government had also “broadly maintained class sizes since last year” and the number of P1 pupils in a class of 26 or more is down by 96 per cent since 2007.”
A spokesman from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), said: “The simple truth is that no council has failed on education that could only happen if children had been let down in some way and there is absolutely no suggestion of that having happened in any council area.”