The latest statistics from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) are startling and certainly make for worrying reading.

Last year, the number of educators who allowed their professional registration to lapse surged to 4,302 - a five-year high and up by a whopping 42 per cent on the 2018 total.

Of course, some of these individuals will have retired and those who want a career break could re-join the GTCS database later.

READ MORE: Teacher exodus fears as number quitting register soars

Observers say the increase may be linked to factors such as a higher retirement rate following the national pay rise. The suggestion is that improved salaries could well have resulted in staff deciding to work longer, thus boosting their pension.

One union source said it was likely that Covid-19 had prompted some older supply teachers to decide the health risks associated with being in schools were too great.

READ MORE: Recovery fears after teachers quit

But we also know qualified professionals have been desperately struggling to secure stable employment. Earlier this year, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan told The Herald: "It is quite scandalous that, currently, one in 10 teachers are on temporary contracts or ‘zero hours’ supply staff lists. This is one of the reasons why we lose qualified teachers who struggle to get permanent posts in their chosen career." His warning was accompanied by figures showing that more than 500 newly-qualified educators from the 2020 graduation group had deregistered.

The Scottish Government says it is ploughing money into recruiting additional teachers. However, the latest GTCS statistics will only fuel fears that precarious employment conditions are likely to drive them away.