Key leadership roles remain unfilled in Scotland schools

According to iNews, schools in Scotland were advertising for 92 heads and deputy heads at the start of term

At the start of the new academic year 92 ‘key leadership positions’ remained vacant in Scotland’s schools, iNews has reported.

Headteacher and deputy headteacher jobs were still being advertised when pupils returned following the summer break statistics gathered from 26 of Scotland’s 32 local councils show; Aberdeen had 17 vacancies for the two roles, Glasgow had 12 positions open and Edinburgh was still advertising for 10.

Scottish schools were also recruiting for more than 500 other teaching jobs.

The figures have been released amid growing concerns that teachers might be set to strike over pay, with the profession’s largest union urging members to turn down the Scottish government‘s latest offer.

Unions such as the EIS are campaigning for a 10% pay rise, however, talks broke down earlier this month after teachers were offered a deal of between three and five per cent.

In June, a survey by the union also revealed that 58% of teachers would not recommend it as a career due to their relentlessly rising workloads. School staff listed changes to the curriculum, long working hours and poor pay as the main reasons for being unhappy in their jobs.

The latest figures were obtained by the Liberal Democrats through a Freedom of Information request and the true number of vacancies is likely to be higher, as six councils failed to respond.

“The Scottish government say that they want to empower headteachers but in practice they are struggling even to find them,” said Tavish Scott, education spokesman for the Lib Dems.

“Dozens of schools are being left without leadership because so many teachers don’t want the stress involved with running our overstretched schools.”

Separate figures from the General Teaching Council for Scotland showed that the number of new teachers quitting the profession early has doubled in the past four years. In 2014/15 only 51 probationer teachers in primary and secondary schools were no longer in their post by the end of the school year, rising to 105 in 2017/18.

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A Scottish government spokeswoman said:

“Headteachers play a critical role as leading figures both within their school, and the wider community it serves. We recognise that the role can be very challenging, but also hugely rewarding and want to encourage more teachers to consider headship.”

On the teacher dropout rate, she added:

“We recognise that some probation teachers may choose to leave for a number of reasons, but the fact is 88% secured permanent or temporary contracts as teachers last year – a record number. “This coupled with the 543 rise in teachers numbers this year shows our policies are making teaching an attractive career choice.”

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