Guaranteed place is a dream start

PROBATIONERS hope continuity in one school will give them an advantage in the jobs scramble next spring once they are well on their way to meeting the new standard for full registration.

Equally, they could be turfed out next summer and replaced by another probationer.

Despite the uncertainty, most believe the guaranteed probationary year is a far better alternative than years of part-time teaching in a myriad of schools.

Shonagh Dunbar says that most of her friends from Moray House were sent to their first or second choice placement. "I was worried about getting to a school because I don't drive," she says.

A one-year post at St Augustine's High in the capital is ideal.

Driving is second nature to Dave Thomson, who spent 18 years as a driver trainer and road safety expert. He will rise at 5.30am to leave his family home near Markinch in Fife early enough to avoid the traffic on the Forth Bridge on his way to Trinity Academy. His first preferences were placements in Fife and Perth and Kinross but he has had to settle for Edinburgh and the travelling.

Aged 41, he is one of the mature students trapped by this year's cuts in salaries for late entrants. They will be given credit and a jump up the shortened scale if they have relevant experience once they start a permanent post. But he is unsure whether his experience will count.

"It could also be that I'll be more expensive and schools could go for cheaper options."

The McCrone salary changes were "a kick in the teeth" but he isn't complaining. As a self-employed specialist, he worked for a company that never increased his pay once in seven years.

"The idea of paid holidays is absolutely brilliant, even if I'm not making as much."

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