Spend on supply teaching in Scotland hits £81m

28 December 2017, 05:47 | Updated: 28 December 2017, 05:49

Teacher with Blackboard

The bill for supply teachers in Scotland has topped £81 million prompting calls for the Scottish Government to review its deal on teacher pay.

Figures from 30 of Scotland's 32 local authorities show £81.5 million was spent on supply teachers in 2016/17.

The data, obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information, shows Glasgow City Council had the highest bill for supply teachers at £16.6 million, followed by North Lanarkshire Council at £11.5 million.

Shetland Islands Council had the smallest supply teacher cost of those responding at £312,861 while West Lothian Council and North Ayrshire Council did not provide figures.

Last year data from 27 out of 32 councils showed a supply teacher cost of £66.1 million in 2015/16.

The Lib Dems also revealed there were 795 teaching posts vacant when pupils returned to school after the summer holidays this year.

The party's education spokesman Tavish Scott said: "Local authorities are spending more than £220,000 a day on supply teachers.

"This money could be better invested in ensuring schools have enough permanent staff in the first place.

"There are many quality, hardworking supply teachers who do a great job filling classroom gaps.

"Children's education is better when they have consistency in the classroom.

"The lack of a permanent teacher over a prolonged period can be a hindrance to their education.

"Continuity helps learning."

He added: "This sizeable bill for supply teachers shows it is time we gave the teaching profession a well-overdue boost.

"A new wide-ranging independent review, McCrone Two, needs to look at teachers' pay, conditions, numbers and support and pave the way for meaningful changes.

"This is the only way the Government can rebuild the shattered trust between them and teachers."