SCHOOLS are battling with growing teacher shortages in key subjects such as mathematics and English, new figures show.

A Scottish Government report highlights vacancies in many subjects with 71 permanent vacancies in maths compared to 53 the previous year.

The figures also show there are currently 65 vacancies for English teachers compared to 49 in 2016/17.

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Other subjects with unfilled vacancies include home economics, business studies and physics. Overall, there are 507 permanent teacher vacancies in secondary.

The situation has arisen after a larger number of teachers then expected left the profession in recent years with concerns over bureaucracy, workload and static pay.

The Scottish Government also reduced the number of teachers being recruited because of a previous oversupply.

Targets for teacher recruitment have now been increased, but the latest figures form the government show 3,657 are currently in training compared to a target of 4,058.

However, ministers hope to increase supply with the development of new fast-track options which it is hoped will produce an additional 200 teachers.

The government also launched a campaign to encourage graduates into so-called Stem subjects such as science and maths.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland union, welcomed the drive to attract more graduates into teaching.

He said: “There is still further work to be done in filling places on teacher education programmes and vacancies in some curricular and geographical areas.

“The solutions to attracting greater numbers of qualified people into teaching are actions to reduce heavy workload and the delivery of significant improvements to pay.”

John Swinney, the Education Secretary, said the permanent teacher vacancy rate was 1.6 per cent of the total teaching workforce.

He added: “New routes are designed to encourage people from a whole range of backgrounds to consider teaching as a profession and I am pleased to see the impact they are having.”

“It is disappointing targets for some secondary subjects have not been met, but we expect to see the number of people training continuing to rise.”