Almost 100 key leadership positions in Scotland’s schools were still vacant at the start of the current school term, according to figures published yesterday.
A total of 92 headteacher or deputy headteacher jobs were still being advertised when pupils returned from the summer, the statistics gathered from 26 of Scotland’s 32 local councils show.
In Aberdeen alone there were 17 vacancies for the two most senior roles, while Glasgow schools were advertising for 12 jobs and those in Edinburgh for ten.
As well as heads and deputy heads, schools across Scotland were also seeking candidates to fill more than 500 other teaching jobs.
The figures come amid fresh concerns that teachers may be set to strike over pay, with the profession’s largest union urging members to turn down the Scottish Government’s latest offer.
The EIS and other unions are campaigning for a 10 per cent pay rise, but talks broke down earlier this month after teachers were offered a deal of between 3 and 5 per cent.
In June, a survey by the union also revealed that 58 per cent of teachers would not recommend it as a career due to their relentlessly rising workloads.
School staff listed changes to the curriculum, long working hours and poor pay as the main reasons for being unhappy in their jobs.
The latest figures were obtained by the Liberal Democrats through a Freedom of Information request. The true number of vacancies is likely to be higher, as six councils failed to respond.
“The Scottish Government say that they want to empower headteachers but in practice they are struggling even to find them,” said Tavish Scott, education spokesman for the Lib Dems. “Dozens of schools are being left without leadership because so many teachers don’t want the stress involved with running our overstretched schools.”
Separate figures from the General Teaching Council for Scotland showed that the number of new teachers quitting the profession early has doubled in the past four years.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Headteachers play a critical role as leading figures both within their school, and the wider community it serves.
“We recognise that the role can be very challenging, but also hugely rewarding and want to encourage more teachers to consider headship.”