Aberdeen City Council has more than halved the number of teacher vacancies over the last year, the Evening Express can reveal today.
Figures released under Freedom of Information show there were 46.5 unfilled teaching posts in the city as of August 21 – the day schools went back for the 2019-20 term.
Council bosses have said they are in a “far stronger position” than in previous years and have reduced their vacancies from 100 at the start of 2018-19 to the current total.
Meanwhile, Aberdeenshire Council currently has 34 live teacher vacancies across 175 schools – down from the 55 unfilled posts it had in August last year.
John Wheeler, convener of the city council’s education committee, said he was “absolutely delighted” that the “hard work” of council officers was beginning to pay off.
He added: “We have had to take a number of different approaches to make inroads in filling the gap.
“We will have to continue to do that going forwards and think of other ways to attract teachers.”
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A city council spokesman said: “There has been a significant improvement in the recruitment and retention of teachers and we have started the 2019-20 year in a far stronger position than we have for a number of years.
“Recruitment is a challenge across Scotland but in Aberdeen we have been proactive and innovative in our approach, both in terms of expanding the pathways into teaching and in promoting the vacancies, our schools and the city to potential candidates.
“The approach has resulted in increased applications and appointments, reducing the number of vacancies across primary and secondary schools from 100 at the start of 2018-19 to 46 this year.
“We remain committed to reducing this further and building on the progress that has been made.
“There has been major investment in the school estate in recent years, with the opening of three new schools and four more in the pipeline, and that has helped underline Aberdeen City Council’s commitment to education.”
The north-east has long struggled to recruit public sector staff, in part due to a historically high cost of living driven by high oil wages.
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “We currently have 34 live teacher vacancies across 175 schools. This figure fluctuates.
“We have initiated a number of innovative ways of filling the number of teacher vacancies.
“This has ranged from using different advertising techniques focusing on both career development and quality of life, as well as using agencies and very successfully offering individual support to new staff.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said teacher numbers across Scotland are now the highest since 2010.
She added: “However, we recognise there are teacher recruitment challenges in some local authority areas, including Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”