Of the 962 full-time equivalent teachers funded through the attainment Scotland fund, 542 full-time equivalent teachers are recorded as having a permanent employment status.
There are hundreds of teachers employed on temporary contracts under the attainment Scotland fund. In many local authorities, 100 per cent of teaching posts funded through the fund are temporary contracts. Those contracts do not contribute towards a sustainable teaching workforce. They often prevent staff from accessing opportunities for proper career progression and continuing professional development. Does the Deputy First Minister acknowledge that, although they make a valuable contribution, teaching posts funded through the attainment Scotland fund that are temporary contracts are no substitute for permanently employed core teaching posts?
I would certainly encourage local authorities to employ teachers on full-time contracts. We have given an absolute commitment about the stability of funding for the attainment Scotland fund over this parliamentary session. That is beyond dispute. In addition to that, there is obviously regular turnover within the teaching profession. Vacancies will arise, and they can be filled as and when they do. The arguments to make more of those posts permanent are compelling.
I am pleased to see the progress that has been made with the recruitment of 962 full-time equivalent teachers through the attainment Scotland fund. They made a contribution to the increase in teacher numbers of 447 that we saw last year, which was a welcome increase in the teaching profession in Scotland.