Thousands of Scottish teachers 'employed on temporary contracts'

Nearly 5,000 teachers in Scotland are on temporary contracts, figures show, with the highest proportion seen in the Edinburgh area.

Almost 5,000 Scottish teachers employed on temporary contracts, figures show iStock

Almost 5,000 teachers in Scotland are on temporary contracts, according to new figures.

Statistics released to the Scottish Conservatives through freedom of information requests to local councils show 4,951 teachers were employed on temporary contracts at the beginning of June.

The overall figure is likely to be higher as Highland and Fife councils did not respond to the requests.

The highest proportion was seen in Edinburgh – which is among the largest local authority areas by population in the country – where 523 teachers were not on permanent contracts.

Aberdeenshire Council, the figures show, said 489 of its teachers were working under temporary agreements.

At the other end of the scale, East Dunbartonshire – one of the wealthiest councils in Scotland – employed just 31 temporary teachers.

Liam Kerr, the Scottish Tory education spokesman, said teachers are the “backbone” of the country’s education system but they have been “badly let down by 16 years of SNP neglect”.

He added: “Standards have slipped across the board, classroom violence has spiralled out of control and we have seen an alarming number of stress-related absences among school staff on the SNP’s watch.

“And now it has emerged that thousands of teachers are stuck on temporary contracts.

“This just adds to the intolerable strain that teachers are already operating under, as it fuels job insecurity, while denying pupils stability and continuity.

“Our teachers have been pushed to breaking point under the SNP as they are continually overstretched and under-resourced.

“The Scottish Conservatives’ New Deal for Teachers will put an end to this culture of temporary contracts and give school staff more security.

“The Scottish Conservatives recognise that teachers must be supported in their invaluable work and that it is vital to recruit and retain the very best people.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Over the past ten years the number of teachers in permanent posts has remained fairly stable at over 80%.

“The Scottish Government is supporting councils with an additional £145.5 million in this year’s budget to protect increased teacher numbers. Where this is not being delivered by a local authority, we will withhold or recoup funding given for this purpose. This £145.5 million assures funding for councils and removes this as a barrier to employing staff on permanent contracts.

“More broadly the Education Secretary has discussed the national picture on recruitment with COSLA, and she looks forward to working with our Councils on the issue of recruitment and retention – noting that it is they who employ our teachers and not the Scottish Government.”

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