Teacher vacancy crisis in Fife significantly eased, claims council

© PA
Fife Council says it is making progress on teacher recruitment. (library photo)

Fife Council says it has “significantly improved” a chronic teacher shortage which had left some schools struggling to cope.

While the national situation is continuing to have an impact locally, a “robust” recruitment process has seen almost all vacant posts in the region’s primary schools filled.

While the shortage remains acute in the secondary sector, interviews will continue throughout the summer holidays in a bid to fill any identified vacancies.

In March, the council’s then education spokesman Bryan Poole declared a crisis when it was revealed 259 posts in the region were unfilled and some of them had been vacant for six months.

Most of those were in science, technology and maths and some pupils had not had a permanent English teacher for the whole of the previous session.

Fife Council co-leader David Alexander said there had since been a significant improvement and added: “Through work to re-distribute staffing we anticipate the majority of the vacancies identified in our schools will be filled.

“In the primary sector we will be able to fill all our advertised vacancies.

“In secondary, we will be advertising for 26 posts in mathematics, English, home economics, business education and computing.”

Mr Alexander said staff had been re-distributed to better reflect the number of teachers available.

Kevin Funnel, education directorate team manager, said the national teacher shortage continued to impact on all 32 local authorities.

“Fife Council has undertaken a robust and wide-ranging recruitment process this year, including advertising widely across the UK and Ireland, carrying out a specific recruitment exercise in Northern Ireland, working with the Scottish Government to secure as many probationer teachers as possible and, in discussions with the General Teacher Council Scotland, to try to streamline the registration process for overseas teachers,” he said.

He added that work was also being done to promote teaching via social media.

Mr Funnel revealed Fife had been given its highest ever probationer allocation from the Scottish Government this year and confirmed almost all the previously identified vacant posts in primary schools were now filled.

A small number of posts will be advertised during the holiday.

“Within the secondary sector, the national shortage is particularly acute in specific subjects…,” he said.

“Our headteachers will continue to advertise and interview during the summer holiday period to fill those identified vacancies.”