'Unexpected decisions' blamed for school staff shortage

Image caption,
Vacancies have to be filled at primary and secondary schools

"Unexpected decisions" by some teachers to retire early is among the reasons for more than 50 vacancies at schools in the Highlands, the council has said.

The local authority has begun an advertising campaign to attract permanent and temporary staff.

The roles include heads, principal teachers in science subjects and maternity cover.

Highlands Council said it managed its vacancies "very rigorously" and tried to redeploy staff where it could.

One of the schools, Culloden Academy, is looking to fill four jobs.

Most of the vacancies are at secondaries.

A council spokesperson said: "We are managing our vacancies very rigorously to ensure we do everything we can to redeploy from areas where there are falling rolls before we advertise vacancies.

"However, there were unexpected decisions of some teachers to retire, also a need to fill maternity vacancies and the number of secondary probationers allocated to the council also affects vacancies."

School closures

Earlier this month, figures from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) suggested the number of new teachers finding jobs in Scottish schools has dropped.

The organisation's survey found 25.5% of teachers had secured full-time permanent work, with 4.5% on part-time contracts.

The figures suggested that about 30% of new teachers had managed to secure permanent work, a drop of 9% on the situation a year ago.

Meanwhile, members of the teaching unions the EIS and Secondary Teachers Association are poised to be balloted on taking strike action over rising class sizes, job losses, school closures and the new curriculum.

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