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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Primary Teacher Numbers in Scotland Highest since 1980

According to the latest Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland, the number of working full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers rose by 447 to 51,959 in 2018, with the number of primary teachers at its highest level since 1980.

Furthermore, the proportion of primary pupils assessed as achieving the expected levels in listening and talking, reading, writing, and numeracy was higher in 2017/18 than in 2016/17, with levels for numeracy and literacy both four percentage points higher than last year

Welcoming the statistics, Education Secretary John Swinney MSP said:

"These positive figures demonstrate the impact of our investment in schools and in teachers.

"There is an increased proportion of primary pupils assessed as achieving the expected levels of Curriculum for Excellence. This coincides with the first year of our £120 million Pupil Equity Fund. While it is too early to draw direct conclusions from this data, I am encouraged to see the attainment gap has also narrowed.

"Pupils and teachers should have the best possible environment to learn in. For the first time, more than 600,000 pupils are educated in schools classed as good or satisfactory condition. This is concrete evidence of the impact of our Schools for the Future programme, and it's why we have set aside a further £1 billion from 2021 for schools in the poorest condition."

Kenneth Gibson MSP added:

"Teacher levels are the highest this decade and the number of primary teachers is the highest since 1980. The average size of primary one classes has been dropping consistently since 2012, going from 14 pupils per teacher to 13 in North Ayrshire. This is particularly important as helping children in the early years is crucial if we are to close the attainment gap between the most and least deprived.

“Only yesterday, figures revealed there were 3,902 new student teachers in Scotland this year, compared to 3,376 in 2015/16. Under SNP stewardship, student teacher intake has now increased for three years in a row. Student primary teacher intake in rose to 2,082 this year, even exceeding the target by 71 students or 4%.”

“I am heartened that the SNP Government’s approach to both teacher training and recruitment and educational funding is working. We can already see results as the attainment gap is narrowing, whilst we lay the foundations for the long term by training teachers. The SNP Government’s investment in education is paying off.”

The report on Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland can be found here.



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