Decline in Teacher Numbers Highlights Need for Fair pay to Recruit and Retain Staff

Created on: 23 Dec 2022 | Last modified: 20 Apr 2023

The EIS has said that the decline in the number of teachers across Scotland highlights the need for an improved pay deal to help recruit new teachers and retain experienced teachers in the classroom.

Annual school census data, published recently, confirmed that pupil numbers have risen while there has been an overall decrease in the number of teachers employed across Scotland – with a particularly large decline in the number of Primary teachers.

This year’s census confirms that the first overall decline in teacher numbers in more than five years, has taken place over the past year.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, "The first decline in the number of teachers employed across Scotland in five years is a cause of significant concern.

"This is particularly acute in the Primary sector, where the decline in the number of teachers has seen the ratio of pupils per teacher increase. With the overall increase in the number of pupils in our schools, any decline in teacher numbers is unacceptable."

Ms Bradley continued, "This is particularly worrying, given that the Scottish Government allocated an additional £145M to local authorities specifically to support the recruitment of extra teachers.

"We are still in the early stages of education recovery following the pandemic, and the number of young people with additional support needs has risen significantly, so we need more teachers in our schools in order to provide education and support young people.

"It is, in this context, quite remarkable that we now have fewer teachers despite the funding that was specifically provided to support the employment of more teachers."

Ms Bradley added, "There has also been a marked decline in the number of probationer teachers securing a teaching post the following year – a 10% reduction from 80% last year down to 70% this year.

"This is a national disgrace given the desperate need for more teachers in our schools to support young people in education recovery and it is a waste of the efforts made by almost a third of the Initial Teacher Education graduates who went on to complete their probation years.

"It is also further evidence that precarity is a growing issue in Scottish Education and that Scotland’s teachers deserve and need a properly funded pay increase since salary levels and job security are currently insufficient to recruit teachers for the long-term who will have other career opportunities open to them – often better paid, and with less workload and lower levels of stress."

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