A SERIOUS shortage of teachers meant there were no applications for some vacant posts in Fife.

That's the claim of council deputy leader Lesley Laird who blamed a "failed SNP education system" for the problems.

She also said 2,500 pupils have "no regular class teacher" and added: "When looking at the figures for Fife we find that either there is only one applicant, and sometimes they are not suitable for the post.

"On too many occasions, we had no applicants at all.

"The same trend is there for temporary posts where the changes to terms and conditions have made it less attractive for people to take up supply posts.

"The result is across Scotland there are simply not enough teachers to go around.

"Too many children are now being taught regularly by supply teachers, deputy or head teachers. This means no consistency of teaching and learning."

She continued: "Since 2007 there are nearly 4,000 less teachers in the system, you simply cannot deliver the type of education system we all want to see if you haven’t got the basics right."

The Scottish Government said that more than £3 million is being made available to train an extra 371 teachers next year, on top of 253 additional teachers in classrooms this year.

And the increase in places at teacher education universities will bring the total intake for 2017-18 to 3,861, a rise for the sixth consecutive year.

A new recruitment campaign, which focuses on attracting teachers to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, has been launched.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "We know our student teacher targets are stretching which is why we are supporting universities to meet them through our new teacher recruitment campaign and £1m from the Scottish Attainment Fund to develop new routes into the profession.

“I recognise that some councils have faced challenges with teacher recruitment.

"This announcement is a further demonstration of the action this government is taking to help them attract more people into teaching and widen the pool of available talent."

However, Cllr Laird said: "Even with the remedial action that the SNP say they’ve taken the situation will not improve in the next two to three years.

"With no change expected any time soon it's the right decision to align the teaching resources we’ve got to deliver a permanent teacher to nearly 2,500 pupils in Fife. We think that’s not just the sensible thing to do but the best way to deliver a consistent standard of quality education to young Fifers.”

"The SNP are against this.

"They want us to continue to have around 2,500 pupils with no regular class teacher.

"They are in effect saying we know it’s bad, leave it as it is. Studies show consistency and quality of teaching is paramount.

"We have invested in teaching and learning in Fife and we don’t want to disrupt the progress young Fifers are making.

"The teachers I’ve spoken to about our proposal are saying to me – thank goodness.

"Teachers want to deliver a quality education experience for the young people in their charge and that’s what we are proposing. Its common sense to use the resources we have – it would be totally irresponsible not to.”