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Cash curbs will deny hopefuls

ur survey of probationers' employment in the last week of term makes disturbing reading. Neighbouring authorities, such as Glasgow and South Lanarkshire, reflect quite divergent employment patterns in relation to their probationers. South Lanarkshire is employing 153 of its 212 probationers; Glasgow 40 of its 249 (with a further 31 jobs going to probationers who have done their induction elsewhere).

The figures are accompanied by a caveat that many authorities have not completed their allocation of jobs. But by now, authorities should surely be close to finalising staffing for the beginning of next term. The danger is that enthusiastic new entrants will have their enthusiasm snuffed out and will be lost to the profession.

The Scottish Executive is confident that, by August, most probationers will have found jobs, a view shared by John Stodter of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland. But he, too, raises concerns about a lack of strategic planning at both national and local level when it comes to probationers' employment.

The executive insists that authorities have been allocated the funding to employ the additional staff to take the Scottish teaching complement up to 53,000.

The suspicion arises, however, that some authorities are using this money for other purposes. Budget cuts may be the driver for redirection of funding - in which case, there are even more grounds for concern. Surely executive funding for local councils cannot be giving with one hand and taking away with the other?

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