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Call for more staff as Aberdeenshire teaching posts remain unfilled after almost two years

By Kirsty Brown

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Teaching posts in Aberdeenshire remain unfilled almost two years since they were first advertised, shock new figures show.

MSP for Aberdeenshire West, Alexander Burnett, called on the Scottish Government to do more to ensure pupils aren’t disadvantaged by not getting a full choice of subjects due to the open vacancies.

New figures obtained by the party show long-standing vacancies in subjects such as business studies, physics, music, maths and computing.

Mintlaw Academy has been advertising for a business studies teacher since January 2019 while posts for four music teachers at Peterhead, Meldrum and Aboyne all remain unfilled since February 2019.

Of those which have been filled, it took the council more than eight months to find a French/German teacher at Meldrum Academy.

It comes after figures from the Scottish Government revealed the percentage of full-time teachers has plummeted from 57 percent in 2016/17 to just 38 percent in 2019/20.

Commenting on the data Mr Burnett said: “Aberdeenshire Council are doing the best they can to help newly-qualified teachers into the classroom, and encouraging more applicants.

“Our rural schools across Aberdeenshire have continually faced problems to recruit staff that simply aren’t faced in central belt areas.

“In some cases, the council is managing to fill vacancies within days but the figures for unfilled vacancies is extremely concerning and highlight the extent of the problem faced in the north-east.

“In the 13 years they have been in power, the SNP Government simply haven’t done enough to tackle teacher shortages in Aberdeenshire.

“Having a shortage of teachers in a particular subject may mean some pupils don’t get the opportunity to study that particular topic.

“The issue must be addressed by the SNP Government – life opportunities and futures are at stake.”

Councillor and Scottish Conservative candidate for Banffshire and Buchan Coast Mark Findlater said: “Rural schools regularly face acute teacher shortages that the central belt and big cities just don’t need to worry about.

“Trying to fill vacancies Scotland-wide problem under the SNP and even more so in areas such as Aberdeenshire which is competing with the central belt for the same people.”

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