DUCATION bosses didn't receive a single application for 23 different teacher vacancies last year.

And the plight of filling posts in the region's schools won't get any easier with 50 current teachers reaching retirement age in the next five years.

Figures released by the local authority show that during 2016/17, of the 246 teaching jobs advertised no applications were submitted for 23.

And a further nine vacancies had to be re-advertised or have the closing date extended before attracting an interest.

The previous year, 2016/17, 16 of the 229 advertised vacancies for teaching posts in high and primary schools failed to receive an application.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said: “Like many other local authorities we are experiencing recruitment challenges for teachers, particularly with Maths, Business Studies, Home Economics, Physics, Computing and Technical.

"Being a rural authority we are also finding recruitment to temporary posts to be increasingly challenging.

“Our education staff continue to work with HR to review our vacancies to ensure posts are filled as quickly as possible and have reconfigured some posts to maximise interest in them."

By the end of 2022/23 no fewer than 50 of the current crop of teachers in Borders schools will have reached state pension age.

A further 92 are also due to retire within the four years that follow.

But the local authority hopes that schemes to attract former teachers back into the profession will help plug the gap.

The spokesperson added: "We have embarked on a Grow Your Own project for primary teachers and are keen to extend this to secondary in the next session and in the 2017/18 session we will be sponsoring people to return to teaching.

"We have also recently been seeing an increase in the number of applications we are receiving for our vacancies with just one example being the good response received to our recent advertisement for a depute headteacher at Hawick High.

“We are also continuing to deliver a steady increase in our teacher numbers - from 1049 in 2015 to 1055 in 2017 - and maintain our teacher radio at 13.8.”

The struggle to fill vacancies in schools hasn't been limited to the Borders.

Across Scotland a larger number of teachers than expected has left the profession in recent years with concerns over bureaucracy, workload and static pay.

The Scottish Government also reduced the number of teachers being recruited because of a previous oversupply.

Targets for teacher recruitment have now been increased, but the latest figures from the government show 3,657 are currently in training compared to a target of 4,058.

But ministers hope to increase supply with the development of new fast-track options.