Councils readvertise teaching jobs as thousands of posts not filled

Thousands of teaching vacancies have not been filled in recent years with councils forced to readvertise posts, it has emerged.

The Liberal Democrats said 2,275 teaching posts had been readvertised in the last three years

The Liberal Democrats today revealed that 2,275 posts were readvertised in the last three years as schools try to address the shortfall in classrooms.

Ministers say the problem has eased over the past year with an additional 540 teachers recruited in schools.

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But there have been ongong problems recruiting teachers in the key maths, science and technology subjects, with internal Scottish Government guidance warning it could take years to end the teacher vacancy issue.

The latest figures were unveiled by Lib Dem education spokesman Tavish Scott, who has stepped up calls for an additional £500 million investment in education and a review of teachers’ terms and conditions.

He said: “Parents and pupils will be worried to learn that almost 2,500 teaching posts have had to be advertised on multiple occasions.

“There will be occasions when people do apply and subsequently do not take up the post, forcing councils to readvertise.

“However, there is no doubt that teaching posts across Scotland are proving stubbornly hard to fill.

“The impact of a decade of mismanagement by the SNP is clear.

“Teaching is an amazing and rewarding profession. But there is an urgent need to make it more attractive to both existing and potential teachers. That starts by having an honest conversation about how much they currently do.”

The figures, obtained by the party through freedom of information requests, show that 2,275 posts were readvertised between 2014-15 and 2016-17. In 2016-17 alone, 1,004 teaching posts had to be readvertised.

Teacher recruitment is down to councils, but Scottish ministers have increasingly directed funding straight to headteachers to give them more control of taking on staff.

“We recognise some areas have faced challenges filling vacancies,” a government spokesman said. “This is why we have invested £88 million in 2017, resulting in 543 more teachers than last year – the second year in a row that there’s been an increase in teacher numbers. In Aberdeenshire, the number of teachers increased this year to 2,675 – the highest in over five years.

“We have taken decisive action to help recruit and retain teachers through our Teaching Makes People campaign, focusing specifically on attracting new teachers and career changers into Stem [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] and other subjects.”