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Guarantee expires for probationers

Probationers have struggled to find full-time posts after their widely acclaimed one-year induction scheme, a TES Scotland snapshot survey reveals.

A full analysis of probationer destinations is being launched in the next two weeks by the General Teaching Council for Scotland but the uncertainties of the jobs market have left many in the same scramble for work as before.

Many have been competing with probationers who qualified under the two-year programme, some of whom complained they would be disadvantaged by the continuous classroom experience of the one-year cohort.

Early returns from authorities suggest temporary cover posts or a place on the supply list remain the gateway for many. But some one-year probationers, especially in West Lothian, are already carving out careers in permanent jobs.

Others in authorities like Glasgow are less fortunate. The largest employer of teachers this week conceded that probationers had lost out to temporary staff after the city was defeated in a court case in February brought by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.

Ronnie O'Connor, education director, accepted that the victory of a Cleveden Secondary classics teacher in her bid to secure a permanent post had "squeezed out" probationers. The city this week finally conceded defeat and has withdrawn its legal appeal, opening the way for an estimated 2,000 teachers across the country on continuous temporary contracts to be upgraded to full-time posts.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association says some authorities are deliberately withholding permanent posts because of confusion over secondary restructuring. Jim Docherty, the union's assistant secretary, believes they want to ease out more senior staff first in a cull of principal teacher posts.

Mr Docherty advised probationers without full-time posts to hang on if they could because more teachers were likely to take retirement packages. "But I can understand if they decide to seek work elsewhere," he said.

Under the previous system, more than half of probationers followed the supply list route into the profession.

The whereabouts of the disappearing teachers concerned GTC members at the council's last meeting two weeks ago with one Glasgow primary teacher venturing that of 12 students she was close to on her training course, only three were now in teaching.

Fraser Sanderson, education director in Dumfries and Galloway and a GTC member, said it was unfortunate some recent probationers were back on the supply route. Councils were trying to balance the position of temporary teachers while retaining some posts for this year's intake.

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* West Lothian Of 33 primary probationers, 24 have permanent jobs, two have temporary posts and two are on the supply list. Three found jobs elsewhere, one declined an offer and one was unsuccessful. Of 37 secondary probationers, 21 have permanent posts, two have temporary posts, nine are on the supply list and five have jobs outside the authority.

* North Ayrshire Of 29 primary probationers, 25 have temporary posts; 11 of 34 secondary probationers are on temporary contracts.

* Edinburgh a "large number" of 90 probationers are on the supply list.

* Glasgow Of 103 primary probationers, 54 are on temporary contracts along with 18 of 60 secondary probationers.

* Perth and Kinross Of 29 primary probationers, 11 have permanent contracts and nine fixed-term contracts. Eight of 21 secondary probationers have permanent contracts and one is on a fixed-term contract.

* Aberdeenshire "Vast majority" of 90 probationers are in permanent jobs or on long-term cover.

* Dundee Of 67 probationers, 52 hold posts, three with other authorities, and five have had their probation extended. All 27 primary staff have been placed in the new permanent supply pool. In secondary, 23 hold permanent posts and two are on supply.

* Stirling Of 34 primary probationers, 18 are working full-time - eight in the authority. Three have temporary posts and three are taking a year out.

Of the secondary intake, 14 of 32 have jobs, eight with the council.

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