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A little recognition goes a long way

While West Lothian Council should be applauded for giving permanent posts to 50 per cent of its probationer teachers (TESS August 29), it may be of interest for you to look again at the table and see that Dumfries and Galloway and Clackmannanshire both retained around 75 per cent of their probationers into permanent jobs for 2008-09.

Indeed, Clackmannanshire, representing approximately 1 per cent of Scotland, took more than its fair share of probationers in the first place and, therefore, to have achieved a retention rate of almost 75 per cent must rank as a pretty reasonable performance.

I don't underestimate the difficulties that many authorities face and it may have been a lucky year for us that we managed to do so, but a little bit of recognition would have gone a long way to ensuring that elected members, teachers and the wider public realise we are trying very hard to give young teachers the best chance possible of continuing in the profession.

This is being done partly by ensuring that those who are nearing retirement and who wish to leave early are given the opportunity to do so, in order to refresh professional standards in schools throughout the county.

Thank you for the coverage that you provide for most of the elements of Scottish education. It is quite pleasing to see how you have dealt with difficult issues such as the challenge to educational authorities over class sizes, and I look forward to seeing some further and possibly hard- hitting articles on Scottish Government guidance versus legal constraints on that issue.

Dave Jones, chief executive, Clackmannanshire Council.

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