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Teacher Workforce Planning and Recruitment

The Scottish Government undertakes an annual teacher workforce planning exercise each autumn to estimate how many student teachers should be enrolled by the relevant universities in the following year to ensure that we maintain an adequate supply of teachers to meet local authorities’ and schools’ requirements.  Following a period of significant over‑supply between 2008 and 2010, teacher supply and demand are now broadly in balance.

The Scottish Government has secured the agreement of each Scottish local authority to maintain their teacher numbers and pupil teacher ratio for 2015-16 at 2014 levels.

The Scottish Government is committed to reducing class sizes, particularly in the early years of primary school.  The class size limit for P1 was reduced from 30 to 25 with effect from Autumn 2011.  The number of P1 pupils in classes of more than 25 has been reduced by 97% between 2006 and 2013. 

Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)

Submission of evidence for a partial review of the UK shortage occupation list for teachers

In June 2016, the UK Government asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review whether there was a shortage of teachers in the UK, which it would be sensible to fill through non-European Economic Area (EEA) migration.  The MAC periodically review shortages in order to determine whether occupations should remain/come off the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) or whether more categories should be added.  If the MAC find that there is a shortage, occupations are included on the List.  Secondary teachers in Maths, Physics and Chemistry are currently included on the SOL. 

Local authorities are the employers of teachers in Scotland and therefore the benefit to them of Secondary teachers in these subjects being included on the List is that they can recruit those teachers from outside the EEA and they do not need to satisfy the Resident Labour Market Test (where employers need to prove that no other UK or EEA national could do the job).

The Scottish Government and COSLA submitted a joint response to the MAC’s review in October 2016, with recommendations to 'maintaining maths, physics and chemistry teachers and including computer science, and design technology teachers on the Shortage Occupation List (UK and Scotland only).' 

The MAC published their report: teacher shortages in the UK on 26 January

Submission of evidence for a partial review of the UK shortage occupation list for teachers

Downloadable document:

Title:Teacher Numbers
Description:Information about teacher numbers in Scottish schools.
File:Joint response to the MAC Call for Evidence on the Partial review of the Shortage Occupation List: Teachers [PDF, 240.2 kb: 06 Apr 2017]
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