Another Year of Declining Teacher Numbers is Bad News for Scottish Education

Created on: 12 Dec 2023 | Last modified: 13 Dec 2023

Commenting on the publication of this year’s Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland by the Scottish Government, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said:

“The figures released today by the Scottish Government reveal a second successive year of declining teacher numbers in Scotland’s schools. This comes at a time when we need more teachers in our schools rather than fewer to support education recovery for Scotland’s young people.

"We need many more teachers to reduce class sizes to enhance the learning experience for all, to provide better support for the even greater number of young people with additional learning needs than last year’s data showed, to help overcome the worrying and growing violence challenges in our schools, and to reduce crippling teacher workload and excessive class-contact time in line with existing Scottish Government commitments.”

Ms Bradley continued, “The Scottish Government already has a binding commitment to employ 3,500 additional teachers in our schools during this Parliament. Instead, we again see the number of teachers working in our schools falling.

"This should be a further wake-up call to the Scottish Government and local authority employers that graduates are voting with their feet and choosing other careers where terms and conditions are better - pay is higher, workload is lower and working environments are safer.

"More experienced teachers are leaving the profession early for the same reasons. Reducing teacher class-contact time, and thereby workload, was another Manifesto commitment of the current Scottish Government – but one that they have shown no urgency in delivering. Scotland’s schools, teachers and young people need to see that commitment delivered- and soon.”

Ms Bradley added, "The EIS recently launched its Stand up for Quality Education campaign, to press government for increased funding and additional resources for Scotland’s schools.

The three main areas within the campaign  - reducing excessive teacher workload, enhancing support for young people with additional support needs, and reducing the problem of violence and aggression in the classroom – will all require additional teachers working in our schools if they are to be delivered successfully.

"In preparing next week’s budget, the Scottish Government must think very carefully about increasing investment in education otherwise our young people will continue to pay the price now and our whole society will go on paying the price of the government’s under-investment in education for decades to come."