ALMOST 40 schools in Scotland have used a special funding pot for closing the attainment gap to award temporary promotions to existing teachers.

Most of the schools that are giving teachers short term leadership posts are not backfilling the posts that have been vacated.

A senior education source said the Pupil Equity Funding scheme should ideally boost capacity, but added that the lack of backfilling was caused by a teacher shortage crisis that is not the fault of local authorities or schools.

Introduced this year, the PEF gave £120m to headteachers to spend on their schools, rather than the cash being given to local authorities.

The explicit aim of the initiative, which is a key part of the Scottish Government education agenda, is to reduce the poverty-related attainment gap.

Fears have been expressed that heads may not have the infrastructure to spend the extra sums of money in pursuit of a central government goal.

There was an also expectation that the PEF would allow extra teachers and classroom assistants to be hired, but national shortages have meant that increasing staff numbers has been problematic.

In North Lanarkshire, up to forty primary and secondary schools have used part of their PEF money for promotions. The schools have created temporary ‘acting’ positions, such as at the level of deputy head, that are filled by staff already at the school.

Any promotions, which will likely be in place be for twelve months, will see the pay rises paid for through a school’s PEF allocation. On-costs, such as pensions contributions, will also come from the fund.

In South Lanarkshire, a council spokesperson said schools were not planning to use their PEF money to promote existing teachers to different posts.

In Glasgow, it is understood the PEF has been used to fund a mixture of temporary and permanent promotions and new staff will backfill posts.

Scottish Conservative MSP Liz Smith said that parents in North Lanarkshire will “want answers”.

She added: “Specifically, they will want to know how the funding of staff promotions - and temporary ones at that - will have a direct link to improved attainment.”

A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council said: “Any decision on how the Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) money is spent is the responsibility of Head Teachers, which is in line with Scottish Government guidance. To date nearly 40 primary and secondary schools have used their funding to make temporary leadership appointments with specific remits related to targeting the poverty-related attainment gap using the Pupil Equity Fund."