Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP today shed new light on the extent of the crisis in teacher vacancies after uncovering posts that have been advertised four, five and even six times without success.
Freedom of information requests sent by the party to all 32 local authorities have uncovered:
- An English teacher post in Peterhead that has been advertised 6 times, with just two applications received throughout this period;
- 47 teaching posts currently vacant in Aberdeenshire that have been advertised on average three times each, with many adverts resulting in zero applications;
- A teaching post in Stirling has been vacant since January 2016 - two years ago;
- There are currently 169 teaching posts across Scotland that have been advertised multiple times.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats said these new figures demonstrate the immense difficulty that schools are encountering in finding the staff that they need.
They come after Liberal Democrats yesterday revealed that 2,275 teaching vacancies were re-advertised in the last three years.
Mr Scott commented:
"It is very worrying for schools that teaching posts are being advertised four, five and even six times. The data published by Liberal Democrats today reveals that it is increasingly common for councils to advertise and not receive a single reply.
"An Edinburgh school has already asked parents for help in finding it a maths teacher. More schools and parents may face a similar requirement.
"I know probationers are being asked to provide classroom cover when they meant to be undertaking professional development - an essential part of achieving their full teaching qualification. Support for learning teachers are routinely covering whole classes instead of giving the specialist personalised support that their pupils need. Head teachers are phoning around supply lists but are finding there simply isn't anyone available. Many Heads are teaching classes. Quite when the government believes they have time for greater responsibilities is beyond most people in education.
"There are 500 extra teachers in our schools this year. But that only begins to reverse the 4,000 teacher jobs lost since the SNP became the government 10 years ago.
"The SNP Government must face up to the crisis that they are presiding over. That starts with agreeing to McCrone 2 - an independent root and branch review of teachers' terms and conditions and the demands placed upon them."