Boom! 35% fewer vacancies in Schools and 15% more student teachers


There’s a report on this by the Scottish Government but it will be full of uncritical complacency about the damaging effects of Indyref2 on teacher recruitment so I’m going to use this more reliable BBC Scotland website report.

It’s headlined:

Scottish teacher training numbers increase

Nice, accurate, restrained and professional just like Reporting Scotland will be later today but wait, what is this?

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 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 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

This won’t do at all! Where’s that Herald piece on depression and anxiety amongst teachers? It’s not reliable? WGAF! Get me it now.



Screen Scotland and SNP ‘just cannae win!’

rushed spock

Whaaat iss iiit? I know, you’re in charge.

 The Association of Film and Television Practitioners Scotland (AFTPS) are clearly in the huff. Some unnamed member, convenor, president of the ‘lobby group’ seems to feel they’ve been left in the loaby when they should’ve been invited in to the good room to run things. After all it was they, the AFTPS (!) who had clearly got this thing going. According to BBC Scotland’s fearless Disclosure team who spoke to at least one fizzin AFTPS member:

‘The AFTPS is a lobbying group set up by film and television freelancers to campaign for more film and television production in Scotland. It has previously warned of growing anger and frustration over the failure to build any permanent studio facilities in Scotland. The lobby group also complained that a task force created by the Scottish government in 2013 had not managed to get the long-awaited project off the ground.’

Having got their way, they’re still no happy. With the winner of the tender to be announced in April, they think it will be ‘very rushed’. Not just ‘rushed’ then? Scottish Screen say they’ll set up an evaluation team made up of folk from ‘Screen Scotland and professional advisers.’ What about AFTPS? Surely, they are the top people in this sector?

And! And, they’ve said the tender document ‘lacks significant detail regarding the physical requirements of the studio facility yet demands a massively detailed financial and logistical proposal be prepared in an almost impossible timescale by potential bidders’.

And! And, the AFTPS want to know why no one has told them how the former Pelamis factory in Port of Leith was chosen and how Screen Scotland could guarantee public funding.

And! And, FFS chaps!

Footnote: The Leith Project will take the rug out from under their own project? See:

Thanks fro last piece to TuS Investigative Reporter W ‘Snoop’ Henderson

The Herald: Another wrong headline based on unreliable figures


I’m happy to use the words above minus any speech marks.

In the Herald today:

Half of teachers experience depression and anxiety problems amid ‘pressures of the job’

They did need speech-marks, but they really should have been around nearly all of  the other words:

‘Half’ of teachers ‘experience depression and anxiety problems’ amid ‘pressures of the job’

First the claims:

‘Half of teachers say the stress of the classroom is taking a toll on their mental wellbeing, as a survey today reveals the scale of depression and anxiety on the profession.  A survey by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland found that a high number of teachers believed the pressures of the job had led them to experience episodes of psychological and emotional distress, with 51% saying that the felt it had exacerbated an existing mental health problem such as depression or anxiety or to develop symptoms. The findings come amid a recruitment and retention crisis blighting the teaching workforce and an ongoing row over pay which threatens to culminate in national strikes and school closures, with teachers’ morale said to be at an all-time low.’

What about the methodology?

‘The findings are based on a survey of 1000 teachers by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland, to which 418 responded.’

This is easier than assessing an undergraduate research project.

First, this is research carried out by a pressure group with an agenda. Did they make the cardinal error of trying to find what they hoped would be there in the first place? Was the EIS involved in any way? FAIL!

Second, only just over 40% of the identified sample responded. So, is the sample still representative in terms of gender, age, experience, geography etc?

The response is based on self-selection and so, given the topic, will be consequently skewed toward those who perceive themselves to have experienced mental health problems. At best, we can only reliably say that around one quarter (around 220 of the 418 respondents) of those who have reported experiencing ‘mental health problems’ think the pressures of the job may have caused them. Reporting ‘episodes of psychological and emotional distress’ is not the same thing at all.

Depending on details we have not seen and the meaning of the above wording, the 51% may actually be of only those who had already indicated that they had an existing mental health problem. How many respondents indicated at the outset that they have a clinical form of depression and/or anxiety, based on at least being formally diagnosed for it and before reading the subsequent questions?

Given confusion about the nature of clinical depression and anxiety as opposed to everyday ‘normal’ and temporary levels of depressed or anxious feelings, and the lack of any professional confirmation by a doctor, the level of these conditions is likely to be exaggerated, especially where the response is self-selecting

Interestingly, this appears headlined in the Herald on the same day that good news of increased teacher-training numbers and falling vacancy rates appears elsewhere.


Support for United Ireland ‘surges’ with Belfast based researchers while support for Scottish Independence remains ‘hesitant’ with Hexham based researchers


In the Sunday Times today based on a survey of 1 0128 voters by Northumberland-based Panelbase:

‘Scottish independence ‘better than Brexit’ A majority of Scots believe Scottish independence would be better for the country than staying in the UK after Brexit, a new poll reveals. The Panelbase survey of 1,028 voters for The Sunday Times Scotland and LBC, before a crucial Commons vote on Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, found that more believe leaving the EU will be bad for Scotland than not. Scottish independence would be better than a no-deal Brexit, say 59%, with 41% disagreeing. While 53% say independence would benefit the country more than staying in the UK but outside the EU under a negotiated Brexit deal, 47% take the opposite view. But there is still a hesitancy to actually vote for independence. Now backed by 47% — the highest level seen by the polling company in more than two years — 53% want Scotland to remain in the UK.’


In the Express today based on a poll of 1 334 Northern Irish votes, by Belfast-based researchers, LucidTalk

‘END OF UK: United Ireland support SURGES as May’s Brexit crisis deepens. In case the poll took place in 2019, right after a Brexit spelled out by Mrs May’s agreement, 48 percent of the surveyed said they would vote to remain in the UK while another 48 percent of them said they would want to join a united Ireland. And if Britain left without a deal the number of people ready to back a united Ireland would reach 55 percent of the surveyed, including 11 percent of unionists. On the other hand, 42 percent said they would prefer to remain part of the UK, while 3 percent said they didn’t know.’

Now, our younger and better-looking (not hard) psephologist, James Kelly, has noted that Panelbase have ‘of late slotted in at the No-friendly end of the polling spectrum’. I don’t suppose he’d support any conspiratorial explanation any more than I’d suggest one. But, could  location and staffing of the research team have some subtle effect?

Many Yes-supporters I know remain puzzled by the support for Yes in these polls being stuck below 50% when their own experience tells them otherwise.

We can only hope that at least some of the 12% who feel sure that a no-deal Brexit would be worse than independence yet would vote No, or even some of the 6% who feel the same about a negotiated Brexit, begin to see the logic of then supporting an actual Yes vote on independence.


Scotland’s exports boom to keep our trade surplus high especially with EU



Scotland continues to export more than she imports. Our trade surplus is up 6.2% to £14.2 billion while England’s deficit has risen 1.8% to £129 billion. That’s why the UK has massive debt of $21.4 trillion (!) which Scotland, it seems must share the costs of, if we separate. A country with an historical trade surplus, like Scotland, would have had no need of debt.

Note the note. Scotland’s trade surplus may be even greater if all exports that ‘cannot be allocated to a region’ were to be so.

Also, see:

‘Scotland’s good exports to the EU rose 18% to £15.7 billion in the year to September 2018, making up more than half of overall goods exports, which rose 6% to £29.6 billion. Goods brought in from the EU to Scotland also increased in the same period, up 7.5% to £9.6 billion.’

So our trade surplus with the EU alone is £6.1 billion!

See these for a fuller account:


13% increase in number of people working in Scotland’s tourism sector since introduction of National Tourism Strategy


(c) WallpapersHome

In Insider today:

There has been an increase in the number of people working in Scotland’s tourism sector since the introduction of the National Tourism Strategy in 2012, according to VisitScotland. The new report shows a 13 per cent hike in numbers between 2012-2017, from 181,500 to 206,000, in contrast with a decline of five percent from 2009-2012.’

Has tourism featured much in Talking-up Scotland much before this? Whit!? I’ve had to get up even earlier than my usual 05:30, at times, to cope. See these few recent ones:

Humungous 45% increase in Scotch Whisky tourism!

Glasgow and Edinburgh push London into third place in tourism hotspots survey

Scottish tourism growth outpaces that in UK

Whisky tourism boom expected to add to record year for Scottish tourism in 2018

‘BLOODY HELL Robert the Bruce movie Outlaw King will feature some of the bloodiest battle scenes in cinema history’, put Braveheart in the shade and boost tourism like Outlander.

Glasgow wins two first places in global tourism awards and comes 4th out of 50!

As Scottish Tourism soars, Outer Hebrides to become major centre of marine tourism with funds mostly from SNP-led Scottish government

Boom in Scottish Tourism and in Film and TV production to be enhanced by Edinburgh University and National Museums of Scotland’ MOOC

‘Scotland enjoys tourism boost thanks to interest in Gaelic’

Scotland’s surging tourism is sustaining many of Scotland’s rural communities


No GP Crisis in Scotland but..


I do hesitate to make these comparisons between NHS Scotland and NHS England as they always go one way and I then start to feel a bit uncomfortable. However, if I want to talk-up NHS Scotland in a defence against our Loyalist media bias, it’s the only readily available comparator with a Tory government to blame for it all.

Anyhow, the Guardian piece above, does carefully and unusually, state that this is about only England, based on NHS England research.

So dear reader, how do you think things are in Scotland? Could be better, but health provision like education or policing is infinitely improvable and so could always be better. What is clear though is that there is no crisis in general practice in Scotland.

1. 93% of Scots can get an appointment in two days!

From research published in the Scotsman on 25th April 2018:

‘More encouragingly, it also found 87 per cent of people found it easy to contact their GP practice, while more than nine out ten (93 per cent) were able to get an appointment within two days.’

2. GP vacancies in Scotland are only just over one-third of the level in England

Based on a survey by the GP magazine on 6th July 2018, Pulse, the Independent reported today:

‘GP vacancies (in England) rise to record levels despite recruitment pledge, survey suggests. Long patient waits and unsafe, rushed appointments are unlikely to end any time soon as vacancies have risen from 9.1 per cent to 15.3 per cent since the (UK) government pledged 5 000 more doctors.’

In sharp contrast, the GP vacancy rate in Scotland was only 5.6% at the end of 2017.

3. There are significantly more GPs per head of population in Scotland

So, the ratio of GPs to overall population is:

  • England 1 GP for every 1262 people
  • Scotland 1 GP for every 999 people
  • Wales 1 GP for every 1060 people
  • N Ireland 1 GP for every 1421 people

4. The Scottish Government is taking steps to ensure there are more GPs, and doctors in general, coming through the system.