At the beginning of a report heavy with hammy acted indignation from the opposition parties, Reporting Scotland made a deliberate intervention in the election by arbitrarily choosing a fact from many that could have been chosen. To suit the agenda, it was the only one which could be used to imply a failure of some kind and then to remind the viewer/voter that it was the responsibility not of the Scottish Government but of the SNP:
The number of teachers in Scotland is at a ten-year high. The number topped 52 000. That’s up nearly 300 on the last year’s total BUT the total’s still lower than it was when the SNP took office.
That is conscious, naked, propagandising. Had they chosen the figure for the first year AFTER the SNP took office, by which time they could have influenced it, the total would have been HIGHER and, of course, no use to them as propaganda.
The SNP took office in May 2007. How soon could they reasonably be expected to have affected the number of teachers in schools? At best, passing a budget and other policies in the 2007/08 session, you might say that by the academic session 2008/2009, they were?
In 2009 there were 51 371 teachers in Scottish schools. In 2019 there were 52 247, an increase of 876 or 0.45%. In 2007 there had been 52 452 teachers so by 2019 a decrease of 205 or 0.39%. Not significant.
Despite the length of the report, we didn’t get the all-important pupil-teacher ratio. In 2018 it was 13.8 pupils for every teacher. That was an improvement on 13.9 in 2017 and on the high point (bad) of 14.1 in 2015. In 2009 it was 13.4. In primary schools the ratio was 16.1 and in secondary schools, 12.3.
As with A&E statistics, we don’t get any idea of how comparatively good or bad this is but, in England, the ratios were far worse at 20.9 pupils per teacher in primary schools and 16.3 in secondary schools, 33.9% and 24.5% worse.