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Scotland - 'Refresh' scheme leaves bad taste

The Scottish education secretary's attempts to solve the probationer unemployment crisis through funding a "teacher refresh" package have been rebuffed by local authorities, who accused her of riding roughshod over their wishes.

Fiona Hyslop said she was granting councils a #163;10 million borrowing facility over the next two years to support the upfront costs of allowing 500 teachers a year to take early retirement, on the condition that the same number of new teachers are recruited in their place.

But the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) described the announcement as "only partially thought-through" and "not what councils want or need". It said nearly three-quarters of members opposed the scheme.

Pat Watters, president of COSLA, said Ms Hyslop was wrong to call the package a Scottish government scheme, as it hadn't put any resources into it. "This is local government money with Westminster approval," he said. EB.

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