Scotsman lies about teacher and subject ‘shortages’


See that claim about fewer qualifications? More below.

Here’s what the Scotsman opened with:

‘Schools in Scotland have “undoubtedly” suffered a narrowing of the subject choice for older pupils with growing concerns of a “uniform” approach to the classroom curriculum, MSPs have been warned. And Nicola Sturgeon’s flagship drive to narrow the attainment gap in Scotland’s schools could by undermined by the diminishing range of options for pupils, according to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).’

When I see terms like ‘royal society’ and ‘royal college’ used to try to boost the credibility of surveys, I reach for my keyboard.


First, on the mythical teacher shortages, see these:

In UK, 16.4 pupils for every teacher:

In Scotland, only 13.6 pupils for every teacher


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 Scottish government also said the number of vacancies being advertised for more than three months had fallen sharply.

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.

Despite the drop, that figure is still significantly higher than in 2016, when only 75 posts remained unfilled for more than three months.

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)
  • 1,494 student teachers will start at secondary level, up from 1,226 in 2017


Second, on leaving with fewer qualifications:

‘For the first time more than 30% of pupils left school with a minimum of five passes at Higher Level or better, up from 22.2% in 2009/10. The gap between those from the most and least deprived areas achieving a pass at Higher Level or better is now at a record low, reducing for the eighth successive year.’

‘The proportion of 2017/18 school leavers with one pass or more at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 4 or above was 96.2% (similar to 2016/17, 96.3%); attainment at SCQF Level 5 or above has decreased slightly (from 86.1% to 85.9%) whereas attainment at SCQF Level 6 or above had increased (from 61.2% to 62.2%).’



3 thoughts on “Scotsman lies about teacher and subject ‘shortages’

  1. Ludo Thierry March 8, 2019 / 8:43 am

    Hi john – info related to this topic also carried on site this morning – Note the greater than target number of Modern apprenticeship starts achieved in 2017-2018 – link and snippets below:

    Increased work-based learning opportunities across Scotland.

    More than 29,000 people will benefit from Modern Apprenticeship opportunities next year in a continued effort to support youth employment, Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn announced.

    The 29,000 target includes Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships and puts Scotland on course to reach a longstanding commitment to 30,000 new apprenticeship starts each year by 2020.

    This increased goal will help give more people the opportunity to work, learn and earn while providing employers with the skills they need for their workforce.

    The 2018/19 target of 28,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts is on course to be met.

    Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships are jobs which allow people to work and learn. Around 1300 Graduate Apprenticeships will be available this year across 13 different subjects. This year up to 5000 Foundation Apprenticeship places for secondary pupils to choose alongside their other school subjects are also available. 27,145 people stared Modern Apprenticeships in 2017/2018, surpassing the 27,000 target.

    Scottish Apprenticeship Week is the nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging more employers to take on apprentices. This year’s theme is ‘Skills for the Future’, recognising the importance of investing in the workforce.

    Find out more about apprenticeships at

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gerry Robertson March 8, 2019 / 6:23 pm

    This is very good news but in a way also very frustrating and I fear is fairly typical of what I have noticed in the SNP. An ‘Apprenticeship’ question was put to the FM yesterday by I think a Labour MSP and instead of shouting this from the roof tops all we got was in my opinion a weak response. I have great respect and admiration for Nicola but on occasions like that I do miss Alex. He would have torn into them.

    The SNP must really step up to the plate and take better advantage of these opportunities.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bigjon999 March 8, 2019 / 9:16 pm

    Just seen that the EIS has accepted a revised pay offer “This represents a compound increase of 13.51% over the course of the three years.”
    In England I cannot find any data on teachers salary increases but council workers are being offered significantly less: “The total increase to the national pay bill resulting from this offer is 5.6 per cent over two years” – so significantly less.
    Another sign that the Scottish Government is doing things differently compared to the “UK” government in England?

    Liked by 1 person

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