THREE-quarters of Scottish councils have reduced the number of teaching posts in the past year despite a deal to protect numbers of school staff.

Figures obtained by The Herald show 24 of the country's 32 local authorities reduced teacher numbers between 2010 and 2011.

The most significant percentage losses were in Shetland, Orkney, the Highlands, West Dunbartonshire, South Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Argyll and Bute, Aberdeenshire and West Lothian. East Dunbartonshire, Moray, Dundee, Angus, Dumfries and Galloway, Stirling, East Ayrshire and Fife also saw reductions.

Only eight councils, including Midlothian, Perth and Kinross, East Lothian, the Scottish Borders, Falkirk, Aberdeen and South Lanarkshire, increased staff numbers.

The most significant rise came in Glasgow, where more than 100 extra teachers were employed as the council placed greater emphasis on education.

The figures were published just weeks after it emerged nearly 4000 Scottish teaching jobs had been lost since the SNP came to power.

There are now 51,441 teachers employed by councils compared with 55,100 in 2007, a fall of nearly 7%.

In the past year the overall fall in the number of teachers in Scotland slowed after a deal between the Scottish Government, council body Cosla and teaching unions.

Under the deal, councils were permitted to cut their teaching workforce as long as the overall total did not fall below 51,131.

Although that target was met, the figures published today by The Herald show most councils are still shedding teaching jobs.

Ann Ballinger, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, said: "Schools in so many parts of Scotland are seeing the number of teachers cut to the bone," she said. "Councils are cutting back to the legal minimum and there is no-one left to give support to those who really need it.

"Schools are now working constantly on the margins."

In its 2007 election manifesto the SNP promised to maintain teacher numbers in the face of falling rolls to cut class sizes.

While pupil numbers have declined by 3% – which equates to 20,000 children – since the SNP took power, teacher numbers have declined by nearly 7%, and the number of temporary contracts has risen from 11% to 13%.

The Educational Institute of Scotland teaching union said it was time to introduce a minimum staffing standard.

"The guarantee on teacher numbers was for this year alone, so we must work hard in the years ahead to ensure numbers are maintained," said a spokesman.

"We need to protect teachers' jobs and ensure pupils in Scottish schools can continue to receive a high-quality education delivered by highly qualified and highly professional teachers."

Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said that, without the increase in Glasgow, the Government targets would not have been met.

"If Glasgow's teacher numbers had dropped by the average 1.4% the Government would not have met its own target on teacher numbers" he said.

"Put simply, my administration's commitment and investment in our children's futures is the only reason the Scottish Government succeeded."

Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, said the one-year agreement had been a success.

"In line with our agreement with our partners in teaching unions and local government, they have delivered our commitment to maintain teacher numbers," he said.

Michael Cook, Cosla spokesman for human resources, said: "No-one would pretend ... that educational outcomes are purely dependent on teacher numbers."