Sharp drop in number of north-east teachers

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The number of teachers in the north-east has dropped by more than 400 since 2007 – according to a new report.

New Government statistics show that between 2007 and 2018 the number of teachers fell from 6,810 to 6,376 in the area.

In Aberdeen teacher numbers have dropped from 1,927 to 1,671 – a decrease of 256. In Moray the figure has gone from 1,001 to 874 – 127 less over the period.

While in Angus the numbers have dropped from 1,223 to 1167, a drop of 56.

In Aberdeenshire however, it has risen from 2659 to 2664, an increase of five.

The Scottish Conservatives have slammed the overall drop for the entire area but the Scottish Government claimed teaching numbers are at their highest since 2010. Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett said the education system was falling behind.

He said: “These 434 missing staff could have been teaching more than 10,000 children in our classrooms today.

“Local authorities like Aberdeenshire are trying their best to attract teachers.

“But the fact is that the SNP have done nothing to attract graduates into the profession and have made it harder for young Scots to get the qualifications they need.

“This week they should be outlining their plans to drive teacher training.

“Their attempts to close the attainment gap and adequately staff our schools has been an abject failure over 11 years in power.”

Aberdeenshire Council was Scotland’s biggest spender on relocation costs to attract teachers in 2017/18, shelling out £350,473 on 70 packages in 2017/18.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Teacher numbers in Scottish schools are at their highest since 2010.

“We have increased targets for recruitment into initial teacher education and created new routes to make it more practical and flexible for people to access courses.

“We have also taken decisive action through our Teaching Makes People campaign and made bursaries of £20,000 available for career changers to train in priority subjects.

“The student teacher intake has now increased for three years in a row.”