The Scotsman reports that more teachers have left the profession this year than the Scottish Government predicted, the education secretary has admitted, as the staffing crisis in Scotland’s education system deepens.
Speaking to Holyrood’s education committee, education secretary John Swinney pledged to address teachers’s pay in a bid to retain staff in schools – and also said he would consider waiving the postgraduate course fee for “career switchers” who want to move into teaching to plug gaps in schools.
Earlier this week, The Scotsman revealed that Moray Council had warned parents that their primary children may have to attend school part time due to a lack of staff. It also emerged this week that Strathconon Primary School in the Highlands is to close after Christmas and its 17 school and two nursery pupils to be transferred to another school 12 miles away, after the local authority failed to recruit two new teachers.
He said: “I think the retention rate of teachers has been lower than we would have expected. More teachers have left the profession than the model would have expected to be the case.”
“We know who the non-practising teachers are and the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) know that. People are making their choices. But certainly the means of contacting those individuals who are not teaching to encourage them to teach are available through the GTCS and we have utilised those on a number of occasions.”
Scottish Tories education spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “Teacher shortages are crippling our education system and, as we heard this morning, the Scottish Government has no idea how to remedy the situation any time soon. These ongoing shortages will continue to have an extremely damaging and disruptive effect.”
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