More than 600 teaching vacancies in Scotland had to be re-advertised last year, figures show.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are urging ministers to take action to recruit teachers in certain geographic areas.

Figures obtained by the party through freedom of information requests to all 32 local authorities found 636 teaching posts were relisted in 2021/22.

The Scottish Government said it has provided 589 bursaries in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects since 2018.

In Aberdeenshire, a vacancy for a technical education teacher at Alford Academy was re-advertised 11 times and has been vacant since January 2022.

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And the region’s Ellon Academy re-advertised a similar teaching post seven times, while Banff Academy failed to recruit a maths teacher six times.

Aberdeenshire Council re-advertised roles a total of 92 times last year, according to the data.

A maths position in Dundee was reposted five times, while roles in Shetland were advertised seven times.

Some of the posts across the country also included head teacher vacancies, including in North Lanarkshire.

Willie Rennie, education spokesman for the Lib Dems, said the Scottish Government should introduce incentives to recruit in rural locations.

He said: “Qualified teachers are enduring years of short-term, zero-hours contracts yet some schools are advertising roles 11 times without success.

“There seems to be a surplus of teachers in some parts of the country and in some subjects but an acute shortage in others including rural areas and in subjects like maths and technology.

“It will be impossible for young people to reach their potential if we can’t find them teachers. And teachers won’t reach their potential if they lurch from one short-term contract to the next.

“The cause is terrible workforce planning which has resulted in missed opportunities for so many young people and so many teachers too.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have set out a series of proposals to give three-year packages to probationers who are willing to take on hard-to-fill roles, as well as offering ‘teaching premiums’ to reward the best teachers in school with the greatest need.

“By making teaching an attractive role, we can bring more people from STEM backgrounds into the profession to help tackle these shortfalls.

“We need a government that addresses these challenges rather than pretending they just don’t exist.”

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Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Local authorities are responsible for teacher recruitment, and they have autonomy to provide incentives to attract teachers to their area.

“We will continue to do everything we can to help them maximise the number of teaching jobs, including permanent posts.

“In 2022/23 we will provide councils with specific funding of £145.5 million per year to support the school workforce and help provide sustained employment to teachers.

“We provide bursaries of £20,000 to encourage more teachers into STEM subjects, where the demand for teachers is greatest and, through the Teacher Induction Scheme, we provide incentives of up to £8,000 to encourage probationer teachers to move to more rural areas to help meet recruitment challenges.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work with local authorities to support them to address recruitment issues.”