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Aberdeen teacher shortage may force school closures

Teacher in class Image copyright Thinkstock

A warning has been issued that some schools in Aberdeen may close because of a "crisis" in recruiting teachers.

Aberdeen City Council said there were 134 empty teaching posts in the city.

The council admitted consideration would have to be given to shutting the worst-affected schools after the summer unless the situation improves.

The Scottish government said education secretary John Swinney would be in Aberdeen on Monday to hear directly from those involved in education.

Aberdeen education convener Angela Taylor said: "This is a national problem but there is no doubt that Aberdeen is a special case because of the high cost of living plus the oil and gas crisis.

"The first minister seems to concede that this city is a special case but as far as I'm concerned, Aberdeen is being left to twist in the wind given the precious little support we have been given.

Ms Taylor called on the Scottish government to act urgently.

She added: "If they continue to ignore our pleas for action, there is a danger that after the summer holidays we may have to consider closing those schools worst affected by this crisis."

Aberdeen targets

The Scottish government said it wanted all schools to have access to the right number of teachers so every child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

A spokesman said: "Last year we invested £51m to safeguard teacher posts and increased student teacher numbers in each of the last five years, specifically targeting places at the University of Aberdeen."

He added: "Through the Transition Training Fund we are committed to helping oil and gas sector staff move to a career in teaching, particularly in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, and we are supporting the University of Aberdeen's distance learning teacher education programme, which allows council employees to retrain as teachers while staying in work.

"Mr Swinney will be in Aberdeen on Monday to hear directly from education directors, head teachers and teachers from Aberdeen and other parts of the north of Scotland to hear about the challenges they're facing and opportunities moving forward."

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