State Broadcaster Jamie McIvor’s ‘analysis’ of Scottish ‘teacher shortages’ anecdotal and hiding truth


Though far from eye-catching, the headline above is not that bad, though more speech marks would make it more accurate and informative:

‘Some’ schools ‘unable to find’ ‘some’ staff they ‘need?’

Based on, no surprise, the combined work of the Lib Dems Broadcasting Liaison Office and BBC research officers, McIvor offers us this kind of thing:

  • Some Scottish schools have had to advertise multiple times in order to fill teaching posts, according to figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
  • Freedom of information requests submitted to all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities found one post had been advertised as many as 14 times.
  • The responses also showed some open posts had had no applications.
  • On the other side of the country, a vacant primary school teaching post in East Ayrshire was advertised nine times.

All very interesting in a gossipy sort of way but we don’t get any statistics to help us judge the scale and severity of the problem. Could that be because the statistics are not very worrying?

McIvor then goes on to wonder, sorry analyse, if high house prices in some areas might be affecting recruitment. Brilliant! What an insight.

Of course, in return for all their help, the Lib Dems get some free space to have a wee tirade, make the voters anxious and, as we know they do in such circumstances, blame the SNP government for something they’ve constructed as a crisis.

Some useful statistics, for his report, were easily available to McIvor, on the BBC Scotland website though the headline would have had to change:

‘Scottish teacher training numbers increase, and staff vacancies fall sharply’

About 85% of the places available in secondary teacher training this year were taken up compared with 70% in 2017

The number of people in teacher training in Scotland has gone up for the third year running, according to new figures.

There are nearly 4,000 new student teachers in Scotland this year.

The latest Scottish government figures show the number of posts in secondary schools advertised for more than three months fell from 229 last year to 148 this year.

The number of pre-school and primary vacancies advertised for three months dropped from 136 to 49

The number of pre-school and primary vacancies advertised for more than three months also dropped – from 136 last year to 49 this year. Again, the figure was still higher than the 33 recorded in 2016.

The Scottish government statistics also show:

  • Student teacher intake increased for three years in a row, reaching 3,902 in 2018 compared to 3,376 in 2015-16
  • Growth in teacher numbers across all STEM subjects (Science, Technical, Engineering and Mathematics)
  • Student primary teacher intake rose to 2,082 and exceeded targets for 2018
  • 1,494 student teachers will start at secondary level, up from 1,226 in 2017

OK, Jamie, back to the start and get some facts before you make another mess.



One thought on “State Broadcaster Jamie McIvor’s ‘analysis’ of Scottish ‘teacher shortages’ anecdotal and hiding truth

  1. Brian McGowan January 8, 2019 / 4:48 pm

    Where’s Keith Brown on this?
    I thought he was the SNP’s chief debunker of media lies and distortions of the truth.


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