New figures have shown that Aberdeen has lost a third of its additional support needs teachers since the SNP came to power.
The statistics, obtained by the Scottish Conservatives, reveal the Granite City employed 191 of the specialist educators in 2007 – but just 121 in 2016.
The Highlands also saw its numbers slashed from 225 to 161 during the same period.
The decline has been branded “deeply embarrassing” by the Tories, who described the figures as a “real concern”.
The Scottish Government responded it was committed to having the right number of teachers.
But Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said: “For a government that claims education is its priority and that it is committed to reducing the attainment gap, these numbers are deeply embarrassing.
“The number of children with additional support needs is rising, so it is of real concern that the number of additional support for learning teachers has continued to decline under the SNP.
“The figures for 2016 reached a new low with a drop of 500 from 2009.
“Teacher numbers have fallen at primary school, secondary school and special school level.
“Additional support for learning teachers play a vital role in helping pupils achieve their potential and overcome learning challenges and these figures should act as a wake-up call to SNP ministers.”
Moray lost one ASN teacher, while Aberdeenshire gained four. Orkney and Shetland both secured three between 2007 and 2016, while the Western Isles gained four.
A spokesman for the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition argued there needed to be “adequate investment” in specialist teachers.
He added: “These figures, highlighting a reduction in the number of specialist additional support needs teachers, is clearly deeply disappointing and should act as a wake-up call for the Scottish Government.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman responded: “We are committed to having the right number of teachers, with the right skills, in the right places to educate our children and young people.
“In the last year, teacher numbers have increased by over 250 to 50,970, maintaining pupil-teacher ratios nationally.
“School pupils receive support from a range of teaching and support staff and the Additional Support for Learning Act places a duty on education authorities to identify, provide for and review the additional support needs of pupils.”