Moray Councillors are being warned that pupils may need to be sent home as teacher shortages continue to blight both primary and secondary schools in the region.
The warning came as the region’s schools are currently struggling to fill 70 teaching vacancies with a number of posts failing to attract applications from any suitable candidates.
Moray Council say that they have already spent £35,000 this year in advertising posts and attracting teachers to the area but with very little success – and the problem is being made worse by the fact that numbers of available supply teachers is at an all time low.
To help with the crisis education officers have been taken from their day jobs and placed at schools to provide teaching cover.
In a report to the children and young people’s services committee on Wednesday, officers have warned: “Secondary head teachers are becoming increasingly concerned about vacancies, in particular hard-to-fill subject areas such as maths, English, technical and physics.
“In primary, long-term temporary posts such as maternity leave vacancies and part-time posts such as job share are attracting so few applicants that even on the second or third re-advertising they remain unfilled.
“This impacts on members of senior management teams who have increasing teaching remits and reduced management time.
“A number of our head teachers are class committed for several days a week and in those primary schools with a depute head teacher all are class committed for the majority, if not all, of the week. This put significant pressure on the leadership of the school and its capacity to improve.”
The report adds that head teacher vacancies have had to be advertised and re-advertised on numerous occasions, in particular for primary school posts. Only a small number of applicants are being received in particular for posts at rural or small coastal schools.
Committee members will be told that failure to address staffing shortages in both primary and secondary schools may result in children being sent home.
Last night a Scottish Government spokeswoman insisted that they were well aware of that quality of teaching was a “crucial factor” in ensuring the best possible education – and warned that local councils had a “statutory duty” to ensure schools are open 190 days each year.
She said: “We announced a further £2million funding last month for an extra 250 places for people to start teacher training next year. We will continue to engage with COSLA, trade unions and parent bodies to reach agreement on how we best support teachers.”
A COSLA spokesman added: “We are well aware of the issues raised by Moray Council and there is no doubt there are issues with some subject in certain parts of Scotland in relation to teacher recruitment.”