All 32 local authorities in Scotland have signed up to safeguard the number of teaching posts across the country in 2015-16, supported by the Scottish Government’s £51 million package to maintain teacher numbers.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in Parliament that agreement had been reached after every authority committed to maintaining their teacher numbers and their pupil-teacher ratio for next year at 2014-15 levels.
Welcoming the agreements, Cabinet Secretary for Education Angela Constance said: “Scotland has record exam results, a record high number of school-leavers securing positive destinations and since 2007 we have secured the country’s standing in the OECD’s international PISA survey, including out-performing an increasing number of countries in maths and reading. But more rapid progress is needed to close the stubborn attainment gap between the most and least advantaged pupils.
“I’ve been clear that the quality and capacity of our teaching workforce is key to giving our most disadvantaged children greater opportunities to excel in school and to get the best start in life – supported by initiatives such as our recently-announced £100 million Attainment Scotland Fund. Our discussions with local authorities have been positive and productive and I’m delighted that we have now secured agreements right across Scotland to provide the right number and highest quality of teachers in our schools.”
The Cabinet Secretary acknowledged that some areas have faced challenges in recruiting sufficient teacher numbers, notwithstanding several initiatives such as financial incentives to attract probationers to specific areas and a fourth consecutive annual rise in the number of funded student teacher placements.
She added: “Our teacher induction system is internationally recognised and through the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s robust registration and regulation requirements, we rightly demand rigorous standards of our teachers. The GTCS is currently reviewing its registration and probationary service requirements to build in a greater degree of flexibility while ensuring that high standards are maintained in the teaching profession. Pupils, parents and carers would expect no less.”