Hundreds of teaching jobs in Scotland were re-advertised last year as schools struggled to fill vacant posts, new figures indicate.
Statistics obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through a freedom of information request suggest a number of positions at primary and secondary school level across the country were not filled.
It means in the last year nearly 636 vacancies had been re-advertised. Over that time, a vacancy for a teacher of technical education at Alford Academy in Aberdeenshire was re-advertised 11 times.
There were 92 jobs re-advertised in total in Aberdeen and pupil support teacher and drama teacher roles were each advertised four times in Dumfries and Galloway, while North Lanarkshire currently has three headteacher roles vacant.
Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie has said it will be “impossible” for students to reach their potential if the country can’t fill teaching posts.
He said: “Qualified teachers are enduring years of short term, zero hours contracts yet some schools are advertising roles 11 times without success.
“There seems to be a surplus of teachers in some parts of the country and in some subjects but an acute shortage in others including rural areas and in subjects like maths and technology.
“It will be impossible for young people to reach their potential if we can’t find them teachers. And teachers won’t reach their potential if they lurch from one short term contract to the next.
“The cause is terrible workforce planning which has resulted in missed opportunities for so many young people and so many teachers too.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats have set out a series of proposals to give three-year packages to probationer who are willing to take on hard-to-fill roles, as well as offering “teacher premiums” to reward the best teachers in schools with the greatest need. By making teaching an attractive role we can bring more people from STEM backgrounds into the profession to help tackle these shortfalls.
“We need a government that addresses these challenges rather than pretending they just don’t exist.”
Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Local authorities are responsible for teacher recruitment, and they have autonomy to provide incentives to attract teachers to their area.
“We will continue to do everything we can to help them maximise the number of teaching jobs, including permanent posts. In 2022-2023 we will provide councils with specific funding of £145.5m per year to support the school workforce and help provide sustained employment to teachers.
“We provide bursaries of £20,000 to encourage more teachers into STEM subjects, where the demand for teachers is greatest and, through the Teacher Induction Scheme, we provide incentives of up to £8000 to encourage probationer teachers to move to more rural areas to help meet recruitment challenges.
“The Scottish Government will continue to work with local authorities to support them to address recruitment issues.”