Schemes/progress tackling teacher shortages in priority subjects: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested


1. A full list of all subjects regarded as shortage subjects (in terms of teacher numbers) in Scottish secondary schools.
2. Details of current schemes to tackle teacher shortages in each of the identified shortage subjects (or in groups of subjects, such as STEM).
3. Details of any targets for increased teacher numbers in any of the identified shortage subjects.
4. Details of any progress in tackling shortage subjects.




Question 1
Priority secondary subjects are:
Home Economics
Modern Languages
Technological Education

Question 2
Teacher Recruitment
The Scottish Government is taking a number of actions to support further improvement in teacher recruitment, including launching a new phase of our recruitment campaign later this year. The recruitment campaign is a digital campaign which promotes teaching as a valuable and worthwhile career. We continue to support universities in the development of new and alternative routes into teaching, including a focus on increasing the number of STEM teachers. We are also offering 100 bursaries of £20,000 for a second year for career changers to undertake teacher education in certain STEM subjects where the demand is at its greatest.

Alternative Routes into teaching
Please find attached detail of alternative routes into teaching.

STEM Bursary Scheme
The scheme aims to provide 100 bursaries of £20,000 per student as an incentive to ease the transition from giving up paid employment to undertake initial teacher education in the hardest to fill STEM subjects - Maths, Computing Science, Technical Education, Physics, Home Economics and Chemistry. Further information can be found at

Question 3
Please see the attached Scottish Funding Council website links which show initial teacher education targets for 2018/19 and 2019/20:

Question 4
Teacher Recruitment
Teacher numbers have increased for the third year in a row - rising to 51,959 in 2018. There are now more teachers than at any time since 2010, and the ratio of pupils is at its lowest since 2013. Scotland has more teachers per pupil than elsewhere in Britain.

Alternative Routes into teaching
It is too early to have evaluation data on alternative routes but recruitment to programmes indicates positive engagement for career changers and high-quality graduates. These routes into teaching have attracted 388 people who would not otherwise have entered teaching. Evaluation data is being collected by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and the Scottish Government and will be brought together to inform future policy.

STEM Bursaries
The scheme exceeded its target during a successful first year, with 107 bursaries approved against a target of 100 in 2018/19.Funding has been made available to offer a further 100 bursaries for those entering PGDE courses in 2019/20.These bursaries will continue to provide financial help, making it easier for career changers to pursue a career in teaching.
You may also be interested in the following website links to published teacher census statistics and initial teacher education 2018/19 provisional student teacher intake numbers:


About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

foi-201900001357 Alternative Routes into teaching


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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