New figures show the number of teachers in Scotland has fallen for the second consecutive year, despite an SNP promise to hire 3,500 more.

The party said in its 2021 manifesto that they would hire 3,500 more teachers and classroom assistants but - for the second year running - overall numbers have fallen.

There are now 54,033 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers in Scotland, a drop of 160 from the previous year and 288 from the year before that.

The number of FTE teachers in primary schools dropped by 354, while it rose in secondary schools by 175.

Mixed story for Aberdeen

Locally, Aberdeen City gained six teachers for last year in its seventh-consecutive year of growth in teaching numbers.

However, its pupil to teacher ratio (PTR) rose to one of the highest in the country.

At 14.4, only East Lothian (14.6) and the City of Edinburgh (14.5) had a higher PTR.

The Granite City has saw a steep rise in the number of foreign pupils, many of which accompanying parents as they study at one of the city's two universities.

It was reported in September this year that an 11% rise in the school roll since 2019 can “largely be attributed” to the steep rise in international students in Aberdeen.

Commenting on the reduction in teacher numbers, education secretary Jenny Gilruth said: "For the last two years, we have provided local authorities with £145.5 million of annual funding for the purpose of maintaining additional teachers and classroom assistants – this marked the biggest increase to support teacher recruitment since 2007.

"It is therefore disappointing to see that teacher numbers have decreased slightly. I have written to COSLA today to express my disappointment at this decline.

"My officials will be writing directly to those councils which have not maintained teacher numbers in line with the 2022 census to seek further information on the circumstances behind these reductions.

"I have been clear with councils that if teacher numbers were not maintained nationally in line with 2022 census figures, the Scottish Government may withhold or recoup funding which has been given for this purpose, subject to any mitigating circumstances councils may wish to present."

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