Courier Country schools start academic year with dozens of vacancies

August 16 2017, 7.49amUpdated: August 29 2017, 3.10pm
Pupils at Willamwood High School attend a math class on February 5, 2010 in Glasgow, Scotland. As the UK gears up for one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent history it is expected that that the economy, immigration, the NHS and education are likely to form the basis of many of the debates.

Schools in Tayside and Fife began the academic year with 72 teaching post vacancies.

Angus had 22 posts unfilled, having been allocated 23 probationer teachers by the Scottish Government.

Perth and Kinross had 23 vacancies, including three head teachers and three principal teachers across its secondary and primary estate, while Fife had 19.

Dundee enjoyed success in filling vacant posts with just eight remaining from the 21 that existed in November.

Gregor Murray, Dundee City Council Children and Families Services convener said: “We have been working really hard to ensure that every post is filled, and the start of this term is an improvement on previous years.

“We’re seeing more people applying to come to Dundee, and that’s a great vote of confidence in the direction the city is going in.”

Kevin Funnell, operations team manager at Fife Council said recruitment had included widespread advertising across the UK and Ireland and use of social media. A record probationer intake has been sourced.

The local figures emerged as Scotland’s largest teaching union raised concerns over more than 500 unfilled posts across Scotland.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “If we are to ensure equity of provision across the country and address the poverty-related attainment gap, then it is essential that our schools are fully staffed.

“As the EIS has repeatedly highlighted, making teaching an attractive career option will require greater action to reduce excessive teacher workload and a significant improvement in teachers’ pay and conditions.

“However, we must also ensure that our high standards are maintained by continuing to guarantee that only fully qualified GTCS-registered teachers are teaching in our schools.”

A spokesman for council body Cosla said: “There is no magic wand that can be waved as our young people return to their classrooms over the coming days.

“This is a long-term problem… councils do their best to attract teaching talent to their area with many offering incentives.”

Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith blamed the SNP government “boom and bust approach to training”.

Labour’s Iain Gray said: “This is the clearest evidence yet of the staffing crisis the SNP has created in Scottish teaching.”

Tavish Scott, for the Liberal Democrats, said: “The Scottish Government needs to invest in the profession and make it a job people want.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Although teacher recruitment is a matter for local authorities, we recognise some areas have faced challenges filling vacancies, which is why we have taken decisive action to recruit and retain teachers. This includes investing £88 million this year alone so every school has access to the right number of teachers.”

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