SSTA: Prioritise teacher retention, not just new recruits

An exclusive focus on recruitment to drive up teacher numbers in Scotland would 'miss the point', says union boss
13th May 2022, 4:27pm
Henry Hepburn

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SSTA: Prioritise teacher retention, not just new recruits

https://www.tes.com/magazine/news/secondary/ssta-prioritise-teacher-retention-not-just-new-recruits
SSTA: prioritise teacher retention, not just new recruits

Any attempt to increase teacher numbers in Scotland must prioritise the retention of staff, a teaching union's general secretary said this afternoon.

Seamus Searson, of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA), warned today of the dangers of over-reliance on recruitment drives for new teachers.

To focus on recruitment and ignore the importance of teacher retention "made no sense", he said.

 

 

Amid the fraught teacher pay negotiations that are still ongoing, Mr Searson highlighted the need to increase the salaries of teachers at the top of the pay scale.  

In his address to the SSTA annual congress in Crieff, he said: "The SSTA has repeatedly argued that retention must be the priority, and keeping the teachers we have. It makes no sense not to value the experienced teachers and any attempt to focus on recruitment alone would miss the point."

He added: "The SSTA is serious about a restorative pay deal that acknowledges and rewards those teachers who have served their time and given so much. Teachers at the top of the pay scale and those in management positions need to see a major change in salary levels."

He listed ways to "pull out all the stops" to persuade experienced teachers to stay in the profession, including "paying teachers properly", better career structures, showing trust in teachers' professional judgement, reducing workload and giving teachers better support for meeting the challenges that pupils bring into schools.

Mr Searson said: "Unfortunately, all these things are lacking."

He highlighted the problem of increasing workload demands for teachers in management positions, with 20 per cent of respondents to a recent SSTA management survey reporting that they received no management time at all.

Mr Searson said: "A common theme is the expectation that they need to do far more than what appeared within their job description. Many of our members said that most of their time had been taken up taking cover or fire-fighting rather than any of their main management responsibilities."

He added: "It does not take a genius to work out that, if you reduce the number of people in management positions in schools, the bigger [those] jobs become."

The SSTA annual congress takes place in Crieff today and tomorrow.

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