John Swinney: cut to teacher training places 'probably' went too far

Written by Tom Freeman on 1 June 2017 in News

Recruitment and retention of teachers playing catch up after earlier cuts, John Swinney admits

The SNP cut the number of teacher training places too far while experienced teachers were leaving the profession, Education Secretary John Swinney has admitted.

The Deputy First Minister appeared before Holyrood's Education and Skills Committee to discuss workforce planning in the face of teacher shortages in some parts of Scotland.

The intake into teacher training has risen for six successive years after the Scottish Government came under criticism for a drop in the number of qualified teachers since 2007, accompanied with a rising vacancy rate and shortage of supply teachers.


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It is thought older teachers have retired, while others have left the profession as Councils have consolidated roles and made others part time.

After coming into power the SNP cut the number of places to 2,307 by 2010.

The latest rise will bring the total intake at Scotland’s teacher training universities in 2017/18 to 3,861, but there are still recruitment and retention issues.

Swinney told MSPs: "I think clearly with the benefit of hindsight the intake numbers in 2011 were probably over-corrected too far, but judgments were made at that time based on the level of teacher unemployment.”

The 'Teaching Makes People' recruitment campaign has attracted "significant interest" among graduates, Swinney said later.

“Last year’s hugely successful Scottish Government teacher recruitment campaign helped drive a 19 per cent increase in PDGE student intakes to Scottish universities compared to the previous year," he said.

"Based on these early evaluation results, the significant increase in undergraduate students seriously considering a career in teaching is greatly encouraging."

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