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Frustrated with spin and red tape

I get very annoyed when I hear that there is a nationwide teacher shortage and watch the current television advertisements by the Scottish Executive, which aim to draw much-needed new recruits into the profession.

This is at a time when there is a high number of recent graduates from teacher training institutions who have been unable to gain full time (or even casual) employment.

I graduated from Moray House two years ago with a PGCE (Secondary) in Spanish. Since graduating I have been unable to gain any type of employment within Scotland. I am registered on the supply lists of West Lothian, Falkirk, North Lanarkshire and Edinburgh, but have not been offered any supply work.

I have serious reservations about the effectiveness of council staff who deal with supply teachers. Whenever I phone them, I typically speak to junior clerks with little more than a superficial understanding of the education system.

Recently, I learnt that a secondary school was short of a teacher in my subject specialist area for several weeks, and was unable to find a supply teacher to provide cover - while I am registered on that particular council's supply list and was not even approached.

I am also frustrated at the General Teaching Council for Scotland. I recently attempted to add German to my probationary qualification, which would have improved my employability. I felt there would be no problem as I studied German for four years at university as a secondary subject.

After waiting several weeks for a reply, I was finally informed that they were unable to add German to my probationary qualification as, in their opinion, I had not studied it enough. If four years' hard study at university is not enough, then what is?

The recent drive to recruit new teachers into the profession is farcical, given that there are numerous qualified teachers in a similar predicament to my own. The new recruits have been promised a guaranteed year-long work placement after graduation, which to unemployed teachers like myself comes as a complete smack in the face.

I am now in a position whereby, although I am completely committed to the profession, I feel that the bureaucracy within it has let me down and destroyed my career before it has even started. Instead of offering guaranteed placements to new recruits, the Scottish Executive ought to be doing its utmost to keep disillusioned teachers like myself from considering leaving the profession.

Gerard Wilkie

Dargai Place


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