Swinney promises funding rise for teacher training places

More than £3 million will be made available to train an extra 371 teachers next year, the Scottish Government has announced.

Education secretary John Swinney announced the funding boost this morning. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Education secretary John Swinney announced the funding boost this morning. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The increase at Scotland’s teacher training universities will bring the total intake in 2017/18 to 3,861, a rise for the sixth consecutive year.

It comes a week after the launch of the Scottish Government’s new teacher recruitment campaign which focuses on attracting teachers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

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The announcement follows the revelation in October that more than 800 teachers have been lost from the key science and technology subjects in Scotland’s schools over the past nine years.

Overall teacher numbers rose by 253 in 2016 - despite a dip in 12 out of 32 council areas.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “To give all our young people the best opportunity of success, we need to have the right number of skilled teachers in our schools.

“That is why we worked with local authorities to increase teacher numbers this year, with an additional 253 teachers in Scottish classrooms, and are upping student places for the sixth consecutive year.

“We know our student teacher targets are stretching which is why we are supporting universities to meet them through our new teacher recruitment campaign and £1 million from the Scottish Attainment Fund to develop new routes into the profession.

“I recognise that some councils have faced challenges with teacher recruitment. Today’s announcement is a further demonstration of the action this Government is taking to help them attract more people into teaching and widen the pool of available talent.”

Mr Swinney also urged former oil and gas workers to consider a career in teaching. He continued:

“Our focus on STEM subjects means applications from people with skills and experience in the oil and gas industry will be welcomed. We have already supported 12 oil and gas workers retrain for a new career in teaching through our Transition Training Fund (TTF) and we are considering how this support might continue in future.”