1/2 Maths Teacher Training Spots Empty

14 November 2017, 15:37

Maths Quiz Stock Image

More than half of the target number of training places for maths teachers are empty, new figures have revealed.

The number studying to be technology teachers is also less than 30% of the goal set by Scotland's education funding body.

There are 1,126 people in Scotland currently studying to become secondary schools teachers - 70% of the overall intake target set by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) for 2017-18.

But only 36 of this group are training to be technological education teachers - 29% of the target of 124.

And while the SFC had set the goal of recruiting 237 student maths teachers, this year's figures show that there are only 112 such students, 47% of the target number.

The SFC had also wanted to attract five people to study to become Gaelic teachers, but has failed to recruit any students to this.

Meanwhile some subjects areas are oversubscribed, with universities having 122% of the target number of history teachers and 115% of the target number of modern studies teachers.

New routes into teaching boosted the number of student teachers by 204, provisional data showed.

Despite that the number of student teachers was still below the number the SFC had set - with 3,861 people training to teach in either primary or secondary schools, compared to a target of 4,058.

The figures were released by the Scottish Government at the same time as statistics showing that there are a total of 536 vacancies in Scotland's schools, including head teacher and depute head teacher posts.

Of these 268 jobs had been unfilled for at least three months, according to the data

Schools are currently looking for 77 principal teachers, 29 head or depute head teachers and 71 maths teachers, as well as 65 English teachers.

The Scottish Government stressed the permanent teacher vacancy rate is 1.6% of the overall teaching workforce.

Ministers also expect that by the end of January 2018 281 students will have taken up one of the 11 new routes into teaching, with the figures showing an over increase of 7.5% in the number of student teachers.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "These new routes are designed to encourage people from a whole range of backgrounds to consider teaching as a profession and I am pleased to see the impact they are having on the number of student teachers.

"It is disappointing the targets set for some secondary subjects have not been met. However, alongside the £20,000 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) bursaries I recently announced for career changers and the increased interest we have seen among undergraduates as a result of our recruitment campaign, we expect to see the number of people training as teachers continuing to rise.

"While teacher recruitment is a matter for local authorities, we recognise that challenges remain and have made £88 million available this year so schools can access the right number of teachers, with the right mix of skills.

"We are also putting in place a national approach to the recruitment of teachers from outside Scotland."

Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith said: "Some aspects of these statistics are deeply worrying, most importantly the struggle that many secondary schools are facing when it comes to attracting a sufficient number of qualified teachers in key subject areas such as Maths, English and Computing.

"In recent months, we have seen private appeals being made by some headteachers, parents and even pupils to find teachers who can urgently fill vacancies and ensure that pupils are properly taught."

The Tory MSP added: "This concern about shortages ties in exactly with the evidence heard by the Education and Skills Committee just two months ago and it is more proof that teacher work force planning is not working well enough."