Money to recruit up to 1000 new teachers and 500 teaching assistants has been announced by the Scottish Government.
An additional £50m will be available for teacher recruitment in the coming academic year as schools prepare to return to full-time face-to-face teaching.
The Government has also said it plans to provide a ring-fenced £65.5m permanent fund each year to allow councils to employ the new staff on permanent contracts.
In 2020, teacher numbers rose by 1153 to reach 53,400, according to Scottish Government figures, made up of 25,651 primary teachers, 24,077 secondary teachers and 1934 in dedicated special needs schools.
A further 1009 were centrally employed and 729 were employed in early learning centres.
‘Our vision for Covid recovery and our priorities for Scottish education remain unchanged.’Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville
Ministers had pledged to recruit an extra 1400 to support the recovery of education during the pandemic and to allow for smaller class sizes.
At every stage, there was a reduction in class size, with an average 23.1 pupils per class in 2020, down from 23.5 in 2019 in Scotland.
The total number of pupils rose by 4208 to 702,197, with 393,957 in primary schools, 300,954 at secondaries and 7286 at special needs schools.
Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Our vision for Covid recovery and our priorities for Scottish education remain unchanged.
“Recruiting more permanent staff will be one of the cornerstones of recovery alongside the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff-intensified support for reducing inequity and enabling the highest quality of learning and teaching.
“The £50m funding will allow councils to recruit more teachers and pupil support assistants next year.
“Looking further ahead, the additional £65m annual funding delivered as part of the local government settlement will support councils to recruit these additional staff on permanent contracts.”
“This is just a first step towards reversing years of SNP cuts.”Michael Marra, Scottish Labour
Councillor Gail Macgregor, resources spokeswoman for the local authorities’ representative body Cosla, said: “This additional baselined funding is a welcome resource as we progress into education recovery.
“Prioritising the educational as well as health and wellbeing needs of our children and young people is essential for us all.
“Having the ability to recruit both teachers and support staff with certainty is one part of how we can ensure councils can deliver the most effective experience for all.
“We do however look forward to continuing to work with the Government to address broader recruitment and retention needs that supports the delivery of high-quality education to all.”
Scottish Labour’s education spokesperson Michael Marra said: “This is just a first step towards reversing years of SNP cuts.
“This government must set about undoing their own damage but it comes at a time of unprecedented loss in education. The SNP remain in denial about the scale of the challenges schools face if they think this is a silver bullet.
“This only starts to reverse the SNP’s cuts to education – never mind dealing with the devastation caused by the pandemic.
“School pupils and teachers alike have been let down time and time again throughout this pandemic.
“This must all be entirely new funding and must be accompanied by a real education comeback plan to put a stop to this government’s track record of failure and to give families the support they need.”
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