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Teacher survey exposes subject choice crisis

A survey has found two-thirds of teachers blame staffing for decreasing subject choice – even though it wasn’t listed as an option on the questionnaire.

Education bosses sought the views of 500 teachers in relation to problems with secondary pupils being unable to take the subjects they wanted.

And even though they didn’t provide “staffing” as one of the five reasons for the issue – 342 of them still cited it as a reason.

Instead, Holyrood’s education committee gave them the choice of blaming school size, curriculum timetabling, local decision making, area and demography as the reasons for the issue.

But these were largely ignored by those who filled in the survey, with 68 per cent pointing to teacher numbers as the real reason.

The report by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), which will be presented to MSPs tomorrow, states: “Analysis of the responses found that ‘staffing’ was the most commonly cited factor influencing subject choice … Overall aspects of staffing were mentioned nearly 350 times by respondents, although this was not a theme suggested through the question wording.”

Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said:

“The SNP government keeps avoiding the reasons why subject choice is increasingly restricted for Scottish pupils.

“But now teachers have exposed the truth.

“Even though it wasn’t an option in the survey, two-thirds of them have pointed the finger at teacher numbers and problems with recruitment.

“No doubt, had the option been included in the survey that figure would have been even higher.

“The SNP has been in charge of education for 12 years and has to take full responsibility for this.

“As Professor Jim Scott said in his recent evidence, there is now the risk that a whole generation of Scottish pupils will not have the best educational experience at school.”

Ends

 

Notes to editors:

 

The full papers are available at the following link:

 

https://www.parliament.scot/S5_Education/Meeting%20Papers/20190508ES_Meeting_Papers.pdf

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