Falling teacher numbers in schools

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Teaching posts in Borders Schools have reduced by over 140 in the past seven years - a fall of 11% which local MSP John Lamont says is cause for concern.

In a Scottish Parliament debate last week Mr Lamont said: “The plummeting number of teachers in the Borders shows just how badly the SNP has taken its eye off the ball.

“With cutbacks in teacher numbers it is no surprise that pupil attainment is suffering. At the same time, teachers are frustrated by a Scottish Government which is seeking more and more control over education.

“In the Borders, where children from poorer backgrounds are being let down, nearly 150 teaching posts have been lost in the past few years.

“It is time for these issues to be addressed.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said: “We can confirm these are the correct teacher numbers.

“It is important to note, however, that in the period 2007-14 our total pupil roll has decreased by 847 pupils (247 primary pupils and 600 secondary pupils) resulting in fewer teachers being required.

“We can report from the National Attainment database that the percentage of school leavers attaining in literacy and numeracy demonstrates a five year trend of continuous improvement and the percentage of school leavers in a positive destination demonstrates a three year improving trend.

“The attainment and achievement of all our pupils is a key priority in all of our schools.”

A further 28 secondary and 10 primary teachers have been accepted for early retirement or voluntary severance over the next 15 months but they will all be replaced.

Councillor Michelle Ballantyne, leader of the Conservative opposition group at SBC, said: “I have been critical in the past of such deals as a way of reducing our workforce, but I believe this is good practice which will really help move our schools forward.”