Fall in teacher vacancies

Sharp drop in reported permanent vacancies in primary schools.

Advertised vacancies for permanent primary teacher roles have dropped by more than half since last year, from 204 to 88, according to new data.

Meanwhile, local councils have advertised 224 fewer permanent teacher vacancies for primary and secondary schools combined compared to the same time last year.

Teaching vacancies for the secondary sector alone - with primary schools removed - dropped by more than 100, from 402 to 294.

The data also indicates the number of posts advertised for more than three months has nearly halved, from 157 in 2018 to 88.

Each year the number of teacher vacancies in primary and secondary posts is reported by local authorities as part of the range of information which informs teacher workforce planning.

The 2019 Teacher Vacancy Survey also indicates:

  • advertised vacancies for secondary Maths and English teachers have more than halved since 2017
  • since 2017 there have been drops in advertised vacancies in almost all secondary school subjects
  • the drop has been particularly sharp for Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Home Economics vacancies

Education Secretary John Swinney said:

“This encouraging data shows that primary teacher vacancies have more than halved compared with the same time last year, and overall vacancy rates are now less than one per cent of all teaching posts. Secondary vacancies have also fallen, with advertised teacher vacancies reported at their lowest level since 2016.

“We have worked hard to make teaching an attractive career with the recent pay deal, increasing autonomy and expanding development opportunities in the classroom. We have increased routes into teaching and our STEM Bursary programme for career changers is making it easier than ever to start a career in teaching.”


The Teacher Vacancy Survey is jointly undertaken by COSLA and the Scottish Government on advertised teacher vacancies. The data is management information for workforce planning and has not been subject to the same level of quality assurance as official statistics. This data shows advertised vacancies in September 2019, vacancy rates at other times may be different.

There were 51,959 full time equivalent teachers working in schools in 2018.

STEM Bursaries were provided to 107 career-changers to train as teachers in 2018-19. The scheme was expanded in 2019-20 to include Home Economics as a subject for the first time.

New flexible career pathways help teachers choose a route to develop throughout their career.

Work to put teachers, parents and communities in the driving seat has been accelerated.


Media enquiries

Back to top