New school stats show significant fall in teacher numbers

The publication of the Schools in Scotland Summary Statistics today by the Scottish Government has shown a significant decline in the number of GTCS registered teachers in Scotland (lapsed registrations up by 500 compared to normal yearly figures), together with a continuing decline in the number of teachers deployed in the pre-5 sector, and a lack of progress on the drive to reduce class sizes.

Commenting on the figures, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “The publication of today’s statistics should provide food for thought for all political parties ahead of next year’s elections as they reveal the lack of substantial investment in reducing class sizes, and in early years they confirm the continued decline in teacher numbers, despite all of the research indicating the critical role of teachers in pre-5 settings (a 30% drop since 2014 from 1200 teachers to 729).”

“The minor variations in the statistics reflect the naturally changing demographic in pupil numbers, with primary numbers falling and secondary increasing, rather than a conscious drive to deliver smaller classes as part of a strategy to close the attainment gap. The EIS would call on all political parties to make a manifesto commitment to reduce class sizes in order to make serious headway in delivering more equitable outcomes for all children and young people.”

“Of particular concern is the fact that around 12% of teachers are employed on temporary contracts – this is an unacceptable situation which needs to be addressed and with urgency, particularly in the context of education recovery.”

“It is also glaring that only 2% of teachers are from a minority ethnic background – another damming statistic which needs to be improved.”