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Ministers take a closer look at teacher supply

As teacher shortages begin to bite, the Scottish Executive and local authorities have teamed up to collect more accurate data on supply.

Two months ago, ministers admitted they did not have a clue how many teachers are needed for specific subjects in secondary or where they will be needed.

Now, Jack McConnell, Education Minister, has confirmed that a pilot in five authorities - Edinburgh, Fife, Stirling, Glasgow and the Western Isles - will assess the true picture in schools and help to forecast future recruitment needs.

Current projections are based on a yearly return fom authorities but the pilot councils will report back every six months. Their autumn returns will help inform the annual projection exercise while the spring data will help review the year's original forecast.

The project aims to collect more reliable baseline data on staffing and highlight shortage areas.

Mr McConnell commented: "We must do all that we can to establish more accurately the number of teachers Scotland needs for the future. This pilot is an important first step in improving the planning on teacher supply and the subjects in which they are required."

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