‘Encouraging’ fall in Scots teacher vacancy rates

Secondary school vacancies dropped by 106 to 294 since the  start of the 2019 academic year. Picture: Getty
Secondary school vacancies dropped by 106 to 294 since the start of the 2019 academic year. Picture: Getty
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Teacher vacancies across Scotland have fallen in the past year, new figures show.

Primary school vacancies for permanent teaching jobs had more than halved by the start of the 2019 academic year, down from 204 to 88, while in secondary schools they dropped by 106 to 294.

The findings of the 2019 Teacher Vacancy Survey, conducted by the Scottish Government and local authority body Cosla, also found the number of posts advertised for more than three months had fallen by 44 per cent – from 157 in 2018 to 88.

Councils reported 224 fewer permanent teacher vacancies at both primary and secondary schools this September compared to the previous year.

Education secretary John Swinney said: “This encouraging data shows that primary teacher vacancies have more than halved compared with the same time last year, and overall vacancy rates are now less than 1 per cent of all teaching posts.

“Secondary vacancies have also fallen, with advertised teacher vacancies reported at their lowest level since 2016.

“We have worked hard to make teaching an attractive career with the recent pay deal, increasing autonomy and expanding development opportunities in the classroom.”

The Teacher Vacancy Survey found Aberdeen city had the most unfilled posts at secondary schools in September, with 35 vacancies advertised, followed by Fife and Glasgow city on 29 and 27 respectively.

The figures, which do not include headteachers or deputy heads, show there were no permanent secondary vacancies in Inverclyde, South Ayrshire or East Ayrshire. Eleven of Scotland’s 32 local authorities were not advertising permanent primary posts.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said the fall in vacancies was needed to bring workloads down to an “acceptable” level. He said: “The significant teachers’ pay increase achieved earlier this year, following a major EIS campaign, is also having a positive impact on both teacher recruitment and retention across the country.”

Tory education spokeswoman Liz Smith said there remained a “long way to go”.

“Teacher shortages remain the biggest concern for parents across Scotland, not least because they have a direct effect on course work and, increasingly, on subject choice,” she said.

Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Beatrice Wishart said: “On the SNP’s watch the number of super-size classes has soared, there are hard-to-fill posts across the country and multi-level teaching is widespread.”