North East Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles has today used the launch of the Scottish Government’s new STEM strategy to press the Government over their failure to deliver STEM teachers across Scotland and in particular in the North East.
Under pressure from Mr Rumbles, Minister Shirley Anne-Somerville admitted that the government did not know when teacher shortages in STEM subjects in the North East would be overcome.
Speaking afterwards Mr Rumbles said:
“At the start of the latest school year there were around 700 unfilled teaching vacancies across Scotland. Across the North East this means that dozens of teaching places are going unfilled and councils are indicating that they’re having real difficulties attracting applicants in science, maths and technology.
“There is an enormous amount of untapped potential in the North East but the SNP are letting it drain away by failing to provide the funding that local authorities need to attract teachers. This is utterly unacceptable .
“Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City consistently receive the lowest funding per head of population from the Scottish Government. Deprived of crucial resources it is no surprise that they’re struggling to fill key teaching places. When I asked the Minister by what date she expected these teacher shortages to be overcome she failed to respond. She is obviously clueless as to when her new strategy will have any effect.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats would use a penny on income tax to deliver a transformative investment in education, ensuring that schools across the country have the resources they so desperately need.”