Scottish Liberal Democrats education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP has today demanded the Scottish Government review the deal that teachers get after new figures obtained by the party showed the bill for supply teachers increased to over £80m.
Statistics obtained by the Liberal Democrats from 30 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities show £81.5 million was spent on supply teachers in 2016/17. Glasgow City Council had the highest supply teacher spend, clocking up £16.6m in costs.
The party has also today revealed that there were 795 teaching posts vacant when pupils returned to school after the summer holidays - more than 100 worse than previously thought.
Commenting, Mr Scott said:
"Local authorities are spending more than £220,000 a day on supply teachers. This money could be better invested in ensuring schools have enough permanent staff in the first place.
“There are many quality, hardworking supply teachers who do a great job filling classroom gaps. Children’s education is better when they have consistency in the classroom. The lack of a permanent teacher over a prolonged period can be a hindrance to their education. Continuity helps learning.
"We also now know that when pupils returned after the summer there were over 100 more teaching vacancies than previously thought.
“Despite the First Minister's declaration that she will make education the priority in this session of Parliament, her government is failing to turn around a decade of decline under the SNP. Teachers are overworked and underappreciated. Instead of matching teachers' commitment and sense of duty, the government's only solution is to centralise and obsess about structures.
"This sizeable bill for supply teachers shows it is time we gave the teaching profession a well-overdue boost. A new wide-ranging independent review, McCrone Two, needs to look at teachers' pay, conditions, numbers and support and pave the way for meaningful changes. This is the only way the government can rebuild the shattered trust between them and teachers."