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Scotland ‘struggling’ to recruit STEM teachers

30/08/17Education

Several councils in Scotland have warned that they are finding it difficult to recruit new science, technology and maths teachers.

A number have said they have had fewer applications for teaching posts in these so-called ‘STEM’ subjects than they had hoped for.

In some cases it has been impossible to fill posts and, as a result, courses or subjects have been abandoned.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said any unfilled vacancy was a cause for concern.

Scotland’s education secretary, John Swinney, said: “There are quite clearly challenges in different parts of the country about recruitment of teachers, and I want to make sure we have a strong teaching profession available in every school in the country.

“There is a particular challenge in the STEM subjects, which is why I focused the recruitment campaign last year on exactly those subjects to encourage and motivate more individuals who perhaps have got a background in STEM activities in other areas of the work environment to make the choice of coming into teaching.”

Official statistics from December last year identified that there were 48,746 teachers in Scottish schools.

BBC Scotland asked all 32 councils across Scotland how many vacancies for teachers they had when the new school term began two weeks ago.

Nationally the total came to more than 680 and almost half of these were for secondary school teachers.

Many councils stressed that they did not regard teacher recruitment as a problem overall and were confident most current vacancies would be filled quickly.

However, several, including Fife, North Lanarkshire and Moray, highlighted difficulties they have had attracting applicants in science, maths and technology.

Meanwhile, the Scottish government is launching the latest phase of its campaign to encourage more people to train as teachers.

Pan European Networks Ltd