Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP today revealed that the number of new teachers entering the profession this year is 20% lower than a decade ago, showing the Scottish Government has failed to put in place the foundations of a sustainable teaching workforce.
Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through a parliamentary question have shown that the number of probationary teachers has fallen from 3581 in 2007 to 2864 this year.
Had the number of probationer teachers been maintained at 2007 levels then an additional 10,000 teachers would have started in schools over the last decade.
Commenting, Mr Scott said:
“These figures confirm that the Scottish Government has failed to put in place the foundations of a sustainable teaching workforce.
"Today there are 700 fewer probationers in our schools than when this Government took over. At one point, there were 45% fewer probationers than the SNP inherited.
"It is little wonder class sizes have increased and there are teacher shortages across the country. The Scottish Government deserves an F for effort.
“Teaching is an amazing and rewarding profession however it is clear there is an urgent need to make it more desirable to potential and existing teachers.
"Support staff have been cut, workloads have increased and many teachers are finding it hard to find the time to prepare engaging lessons. We have to make teaching a more attractive proposition.
"That is why the Education Secretary must now respond to our calls for a new independent root and branch review to ensure teachers have the conditions, numbers and support to match the demands placed upon them. That would be a positive step for government to take in addressing the shortfalls and I urge them to work with local government and teachers’ unions now to establish McCrone 2.”