By Harry Bell
Targeted funding to recruit 1,000 new teachers and 500 pupil support assistants in the next academic year has been announced by Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.
The additional £50 million will support COVID-19 education recovery as schools return to full time face-to-face learning. The announcement meets another commitment for the first 100 days of this government.
In addition, £65.5m permanent funding will be allocated annually to councils from 2022-23, which will help remove barriers to councils employing these additional staff on permanent contracts and meet the local needs of children and young people.
Ms Somerville, pictured right, said: “Our vision for COVID recovery and our priorities for Scottish education remain unchanged. Recruiting more permanent staff will be one of the cornerstones of recovery alongside the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff intensified support for reducing inequity, and enabling the highest quality of learning and teaching.
“The £50 million funding will allow councils to recruit more teachers and pupil support assistants next year. Looking further ahead, the additional £65 million annual funding delivered as part of the local government settlement will support councils to recruit these additional staff on permanent contracts.”
COSLA spokesperson for resources Councillor Gail Macgregor said: “This additional baselined funding is a welcome resource as we progress into education recovery. Prioritising the educational, as well as, health and wellbeing needs of our children and young people is essential for us all. Having the ability to recruit both teachers and support staff with certainty is one part of how we can ensure Councils can deliver the most effective experience for all.
“We do however, look forward to continuing to work with Government to address broader recruitment and retention needs that supports the delivery of high quality education to all.”
Since the start of the pandemic 2,700 additional teachers and support staff have been recruited thanks to £190 million from the Scottish Government. Our commitment to recruit 3,500 additional teachers and pupil support assistants during this Parliament, including this 100 days commitment, is over and above those already recruited using this funding.
Meanwhile, local authorities will report regularly on staff recruited using this funding, including employment status details.
£65.5m will be added annually from 2022-23 into the local government settlement, which will support councils to employ additional staff on permanent contracts as appropriate to local needs of children and young people. This funding will provide the certainty that councils need in order to continue to plan their future permanent workforce requirements.