More than 120 teachers are being drafted into Fife’s schools as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Some 65 have already been recruited – 18 to secondary schools and 47 to primary schools – funded by more than £5.45 million from the Scottish Government.
A further 18 secondary school teachers and 32 primary school teachers will also be taken on, in addition to five for special schools.
As many of the new recruits are likely to be newly qualified teachers a further two teachers will be brought in to support them.
Lockdown learning gap
They are being deployed where they are needed to help pupils who have fallen behind while schools were closed during lockdown.
Fife’s education and children’s services convener Fay Sinclair outlined the extra staffing as she was questioned by Liberal Democrat councillor Tim Brett at a meeting of Fife Council on the funding provided by the government for additional teachers and how it had been spent.
She said the £5.45m was awarded over two financial years to cover the 2020/21 academic year, the first allocation totalling £3.27m.
Mrs Sinclair said: “For that initial allocation 18 staff were appointed to secondary schools, that’s one per high school, and 47 teaching staff appointed to primary schools.
“For the second allocation of funding that came a further 18 full-time equivalent teachers are being allocated to secondary schools – that’s another full time teaching post for each of our secondary schools – five to special schools and a further two are to be recruited to support last year’s probationers who are now newly qualified teachers.
The additional staffing is about creating additionality and meeting any gaps in learning that may have arisen through the lockdown period.”
Councillor Fay Sinclair
“Because of the number of these, many of these additional posts will be filled by newly qualified teachers in addition to about 150 that were recruited through our normal recruitment processes.
“They do require some support so a further two teachers will be recruited to be able to do that.
“There are approximately 32 full-time equivalents being allocated to the primary schools.
“Recruitment is ongoing for this second tranche.”
Mrs Sinclair said that extra teachers would be posted where they were needed to support pupils impacted by lockdown and would not be used to plug existing vacancies.
She said: “The additional staffing is about creating additionality and meeting any gaps in learning that may have arisen through the lockdown period.”
She also said they wanted to ensure that “every school is staffed above the core allocation”.
Tay Bridgehead councillor Mr Brett said he wants to see the council monitor the impact made by the extra teachers.
He said: “It is good to see that additional staff have been recruited for our schools but I understand that they are all on fixed term contracts until the end of this academic year.
“What I was particularly interested in was to know whether these additional staff would help to address the education inequality gap which we know from educational experts has grown wider over the lockdown period.
“Crucially no information was provided on how we will know what difference this extra £5.45m and extra staff will make.”
Fife has 18 secondary schools, 134 primary schools and five special schools.
As of Tuesday, nine teachers were off work for reasons related to Covid-19, including self-isolating, shielding or caring for someone who was self-isolating.