AREA schools are still struggling to recruit teachers, education bosses have warned.

West Dunbartonshire Council has enough teachers for the new term starting in August, according to a report going before councillors on Wednesday.

But education officials admitted they find it tough to get teachers to apply for temporary posts, such as for maternity leave, and supply teachers. They are also having difficulty recruiting locally and nationally for Catholic schools.

The number of teachers has gone up by eight across the local authority as pupil numbers increased slightly to 12,448. That has brought down the teacher-to-pupil ratio marginally to 13.40.

The report to the education services committee states: “Over recent years the annual recruitment process has been challenging both at a national and local level, resulting in most councils experiencing difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff.

“A key issue at secondary school level is that the number of students on teacher training courses is below the number of spaces targeted by government, affecting recruitment in our authority in a number of subjects including: science, technologies, engineering and maths (STEM), home economics, and English.”

There is an annual turnover of about 20 full-time teachers as well as 65 maternity posts each year.

The new pupil equity funding from the Scottish Government could also pay for 17 teacher posts for five years.

That gave a calculation of 47 posts which would normally be for a fixed term and get few applications and convert them to permanent posts in an effort to make them more attractive.

The report states: “The number of teachers available from the supply pool remains limited. The local solution has been to speed up the application and interview process, and in addition, all teachers who are about to retire are given the opportunity to be placed on the supply list with immediate effect so that they can make a seamless transition from a permanent post to the supply pool.”

But they concluded: “Educational services has, to date, sufficient teachers to fully staff our schools at the commencement of term in August. There are some unknown variables, e.g, number of staff who elect at the last minute to take a post with another council despite having agreed a permanent contract with WDC, and the situation continues to be monitored closely.”