Decline in teacher posts 'wholly unacceptable' say Scottish Government

The deputy first minister John Swinney and education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville met with Cosla on Tuesday.

Decline in teacher numbers ‘wholly unacceptable’ say Scottish Government iStock

Any further decline in the number of teachers in Scotland would be “wholly unacceptable”, the Scottish Government have said.

Plans to retain the number of teacher posts was discussed by deputy first minister John Swinney and education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville after they met with Cosla, the governing body for local authorities, on Tuesday.

Cuts to teacher numbers within local authorities or shortening the school week have been ruled out by the Scottish Government.

The announcement comes after leaked proposals from Glasgow City Council detailed cutting up to 800 teachers across the local authority and closing primary schools on Fridays to save money.

Speculation had mounted that the Scottish Government would move to block any cuts local authorities could make to teaching posts.

Somerville will set out the Government’s plans to parliament in the coming days.

A census of teachers showed there had been a slight decrease in their number in Scotland last year.

Teaching unions across Scotland are currently in the process of carrying out 16 rolling days of strike action in demands for a 10% pay increase, but Somerville insists that is not affordable.

Speaking after the meeting, Swinney said: “Today’s meeting with local government leaders was to discuss the vital importance we place on protecting teacher numbers and the length of the school week, and to hear their views on how they will deliver that outcome.

“The Scottish Government and local government are committed to recruiting more teachers. Indeed, we have provided additional resource to local authorities to do just that.

“Despite this, the latest teacher census showed a small decline in overall teacher numbers. Any further decrease would be wholly unacceptable – as would any reduction in the school week.

“In the spirit of co-operation, it is my hope that the Scottish Government and local authorities can work in partnership to continue to improve Scotland’s education system.

“Next steps will be set out to Parliament by the Education Secretary in the coming days.”

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