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Probationers need 'Stalinist economy'

THE Scottish Executive should employ a "Stalinist" approach to teacher induction, a Glasgow conference heard last week. This was necessary to end the "national disgrace" of the treatment of probationers in Scotland, the leader of Scotland's education directors said.

The remarks by Gordon Jeyes, general secretary of the Association of Directors of Education, were reinforced by Jim McNally, author of a major report on the induction of new teachers. Mr McNally urged the Executive to adopt its recommendation of a bonus of several thousand pounds for schools that took on new recruits and called for local assessment boards to monitor probationers and arbitrate in disputes.

Mr Jeyes, director in Stirling and a key local authority adviser during the McCrone negotiations, told the conference that "a heavy price" had been paid for the breakdown of induction arrangements in the past. The systm had "lost the ability to nurture probationers".

The move to ensure that all new teachers should have guaranteed employment for one year would only be possible by adopting a "command economy" approach, he said. "The arrangements are going to have to be controlled from the centre. If we produce 10 history teachers, we must know that there are 10 posts to be taken up. That will not be a fine science, which is why the Scottish Executive has got to give a guarantee. It is a Stalinist-type economy."

Mr Jeyes added: "If we want students to have a good start, where they are rehearsing their skills to become expert teachers, you need to give them this guarantee of employment."

Local authorities would find the places, the General Teaching Council for Scotland would set and monitor standards and the Scottish Executive would provide 40 per cent funding for each training post.

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