Pupil projections and implications for teacher resourcing needs: education workforce modelling and research

An external report considering population projections and potential implications for education workforce resources in Scotland. This independent analysis is intended to support engagement with partners on workforce planning that enables delivery of key commitments while maximising value for money.

6. Conclusion

The report highlights the changing landscape of education in Scotland due to demographic shifts and policy choices and puts that in the context of how Scotland currently compares internationally.

Bringing the implications of these scenarios together can provide useful insight for teacher recruitment. Focussing on the implications from projected demographic changes – and in the context of constrained public sector budgets – our modelling suggests that a constant, rather than increasing, teacher stock could more closely match expected teacher resourcing needs over the next decade. This could avoid sudden excesses in teacher numbers relative to resourcing needs, while meeting the policy commitment to reduce contact time to 21 hours, albeit by 2028, two years later than planned.

This reduction could be enabled across all school types by 2028 if the proportions of primary, secondary and special school teachers are allowed to adjust (even though the overall number of teachers remain constant). Otherwise, the decline in class contact time could be enabled faster in primary (by 2026) and slower in secondary (by around 2031) with the average reduction being 1.5 hours by 2028.

Scotland’s PTR would also reduce over time due to the expected decline in pupil numbers.

Focussing on enabling a reduction in class contact time across all school types by 2026 would require a significant increase in the number of teachers in the short term. This increase in teacher numbers could be reduced if the reduction in class contact time was enabled by 2028.

If a multi-pronged approach were considered (for example, exploring changing the role of teachers being used for targeted interventions rather than in standard classes, to increase the number of classroom teachers without significant recruitment) the class contact time commitments could be met without any reduction in the PTR. However, if the PTR was allowed to increase to 13.7 (the level it was in 2015-16) all else equal, this would lead to an increase in class contact time unless a disproportionately large – and likely infeasibly large – number of teachers being used for targeted interventions had their roles changed.


Email: zak.tuck@gov.scot

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