'There will be slim pickings this year'

28th April 2006, 1:00am


'There will be slim pickings this year'

Lynsey Brown. Computing. Greenwood Academy, Irvine, North Ayrshire

I'm still waiting for the council to release its list of jobs.

Some of the other councils have done it already, but I want to stay in the area.

I get the impression there was supposed to be a sort of gentlemen's agreement between the authorities to wait and then release their vacancies all at the same time so we knew what was available. I would have preferred that. It would have made it a more level playing field.

Some of the other probationers are applying for jobs in other areas, in case nothing comes up here, but I'm quite optimistic. My current school has applied for another teaching post in computing, and we are just waiting to hear. But if a job doesn't come up, I'm not too worried. I know from my year here that there are no computing supply teachers in the area, so I might be able to do that for a while to gain more experience.

One of the problems with supply is you can't guarantee you would be called in to cover computing. You might have to take any subject and I feel at the moment I would most benefit from staying within my subject, so I can really get to grips with the curriculum.

When I started my diploma, computing had only just come off the shortage list, so I think there will still be openings and opportunities. I just have to wait and see.

Kirsty McKune . Primary. Laurieknowe Primary, Dumfries

My application is in for a job in Dumfries and Galloway. I don't think the authority has determined how many vacancies it has yet, so I have no idea whether I will get a job here or not, but I'm hopeful. We've had regular meetings with our probationer co-ordinator, Elspeth Penny, and the authority has made it clear it wants to keep as many of its probationers as possible. And my experience over the past year has made me want to stay.

I feel I've been kept well informed about the situation, and Elspeth has been really supportive. She has always been easy to reach and she made sure we had the right training for filling in applications and interviews, so we have the best chance possible. I'm pretty relaxed.

I've got the impression there will be opportunities. Obviously I'd prefer a permanent contract, but there will be temporary posts and there is always supply. I'm quite confident that I will get something.

James Kershaw. Primary. Eastfield Primary, Penicuik, Midlothian

I think there will be slim pickings this year, and that makes me slightly apprehensive. It is made worse because Midlothian and Edinburgh haven't released their vacancies yet, while others have.

I'm applying to other authorities because I have to, but I really want to stay in this authority. I can see it is a good authority from my probationary year.

The trouble is the job market is about to get flooded by next year's probationers. That's fair enough. I got to benefit from my guaranteed year and so should they. It has been a very valuable year for me. But local authorities have to find spaces for them and for the students who need placements, which means fewer vacancies all round, and especially for us less experienced teachers.

On the plus side there are the baby boomers, those people who are nearing retirement. That could free up some posts for us probationers. However, I am aware of some newly qualified teachers from last year who still haven't got permanent work. It is a bit nerve-wracking.

Dugal McCrow. Art. Grantown Grammar, Grantown-on-Spey, Highland

I ticked the box, gambling on going somewhere random that wasn't Edinburgh and I ended up in Highland. I thought I'd come for a year, but I want to stay.

I think my prospects are pretty good. My job has been advertised and the closing date was yesterday, so fingers crossed. I'd love to stay in this school: it is so friendly. The kids all greet you as you walk down the road. There is at least one other applicant from within Highland, but if she gets the job, that means her job will be vacant.

I'm the only art probationer in the whole of Highland, so I'm staying positive. Having done your probation in an area where that local authority has directed much of your CPD must increase your chances of gaining a post there.

Overall, though, I don't think the prospect for art probationers is that good. There were 12 in my year at Moray House and about the same at Strathclyde and Glasgow, but there have only been eight jobs advertised in The TESS, and 120 in England.

Next year's cohort at Moray House is between 22 and 26, and the same the following year, so I reckon there will be a flood of art teachers graduating over the next couple of years.

Lorna Stein. Primary. Kelburn Primary, Largs, North Ayrshire

When we were at college at Jordanhill, we were told not to expect to walk straight in to a full-time permanent job after our induction year. That was expecting too much. Instead we were prepared, made aware, that we might have to do supply or temporary contracts to gain more experience. Headteachers often go for more experienced teachers rather than probationers who are still very new to the job. I can understand that.

I've been keeping an eye open for all the adverts from councils within travelling distance of Irvine, where I'm moving to after I get married, and I've applied for two so far. I'd love to have stayed here at this school, but there aren't any vacancies at the moment. I haven't heard much about probationers facing difficulties getting jobs. I thought with the changes to PE, that might make it easier, as schools will require more cover.

Elaine Johnston. Biology. Hillhead High, Glasgow

I've been for a job interview with Glasgow City Council. Glasgow guarantees all probationers a general interview. I had to face a panel of three senior managers, a head and two deputes. The council then grades you - from A1 (excellent) down to A3 (good), right down to "not recommended". I got an A1 from my school and an A2 for the interview. I was quite upset when I got an A2, because they place the A1s in jobs first, then move on to the A2s, and I don't know how many jobs are available.

I'm more optimistic because I know, in terms of Glasgow probationers, there are only five or six for biology, whereas, for English and maths, you're talking about 20-40.

We have to check the Glasgow website for updates on progress.

I don't feel I'm going to be without a job for long. At the very least I could go into supply.

I've also applied to an East Dunbartonshire school, because that's where I come from, but I'm still waiting to hear if I've got an interview.

I've been checking The TESS every week and biology positions seem to have dried up, but another job could open up any time right up till the beginning of the school year. A friend who was a probationer last year only found she was coming back to this school a day or two before term started.

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