THE salaries of Scottish teachers have slipped behind their international colleagues over the past decade, according to new figures.

A major report on education systems around the developed world found the value of pay for secondary staff in Scotland is now ranked 19th out of 37 countries.

In 2007 - when the SNP came to power - the equivalent survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked Scotland eighth in the developed world.

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The report states: "In contrast to the general trend across OECD countries, teachers’ statutory salaries in ... Scotland were worth less in real terms in 2015 than they were in 2005.

"For teachers with typical qualifications and 15 years of experience, and accounting for inflation over the period 2005-15, statutory salaries were worth ... six per cent less in Scotland across all levels of education.

"This compares to average real terms increases in teachers’ statutory salaries across OECD countries of six per cent at primary level, six per cent at lower secondary and four per cent at upper secondary level."

The survey has been published at a time when some Scottish schools are facing severe teacher shortages, particularly in rural areas and in key subjects such as science.

Last month, The Herald revealed there were nearly 700 teacher vacancies unfilled at the beginning of the new school year.

The Scottish Government has launched a number of strategies to attract new talent including controversial fast-track teacher training courses.

However, unions argue that a major disincentive for graduates is the decreasing value of teachers' pay.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said the report confirmed teachers had seen their salaries cut.

He said: "The government can no longer claim that cuts to teachers’ pay were an inevitable result of the global economic crisis.

"It was a political choice, in this country, to cut teachers’ pay and it is a decision that has contributed to the growing recruitment challenge and teacher shortages that exist in many parts of the country.

"It is more clear than ever that corrective action must be taken now to reverse this decline and to give our teachers a proper pay rise and fair salaries for the vital work that they do.”

In Scotland, teachers have not yet received a pay settlement for 2017/18 and discussions are continuing. The EIS has already rejected a one per cent pay offer from employers.

The survey by the OECD - which converts salaries to US dollars - shows Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands at the top of the international pay scales.

England sits just above the OECD average of $44,623 with Scotland, where classroom teachers can earn up to £35,000, just below the average.

First Nicola Sturgeon has signalled her intention to lift current public sector pay caps, but teachers believe a much more fundamental review of teachers' pay is required.

The OECD report also highlighted the fact - as in most countries - the average salaries of Scottish teachers are lower than the earnings of UK graduates.

In Scotland, teachers earnings in 2015 were 82 per cent of the average earnings of full-time, 25-64 year-old graduates.

Country                          Salary After 15 years (USD)

Luxembourg                              113,136

Germany                                    74,078

Netherlands                                69,268

Canada                                       65,621

United States                             162,369

Australia                                     59,425

Ireland                                       58,040

Denmark                                    55,999

Belgium                                      50,652

Japan                                         50,636

Korea                                         49,655

Austria                                       48,422

Spain                                         48,336

England                                      47,070

Norway                                      45,771

Costa Rica                                  45,442

OECD average                            44,623

New Zealand                               44,607

Scotland                                     43,795

Finland                                       43,774

Sweden                                      41,720

Portugal                                      39,129

Slovenia                                     38,954

France                                        37,638

Italy                                           36,777

Mexico                                        36,742

Colombia                                     32,686

Israel                                          32,509

Turkey                                        30,408

Chile                                           27,684

Poland                                         25,375

Greece                                        25,077

Czech Republic                            19,403

Hungary                                      19,284

Lithuania                                     18,369

Slovak Republic                            17,930

Latvia                                            8,872