Job outlook is grim, while pupils are taught by trainees

14th August 2009 at 01:00

Another new school term beckons, and the plight of post-probationer teachers still has not been addressed by the Scottish Government.

A check on the current position shows there are at present two vacancies in the whole of Scotland for my subject, English, which is surely a joke. The situation is worse than last year, as councils fill posts with probationer teachers to save money.

This is understandable in the current financial crisis, but it is shortsighted and educationally damaging. Our children are being taught by trainee teachers who lack the experience and knowledge to carry out a thorough job.

Fiona Hyslop, the Education Secretary, must admit that there is a problem. Figures are massaged to show how well the SNP is dealing with education. The councils blame the Government and say their hands are tied.

The unions do not appear to take any responsibility. The universities continue to advertise PGDE courses and tell students jobs will be available.

Teaching is a professional job that takes years of study and graft to master, yet we are treated like casual workers. If doctors and lawyers were treated like this, there would be a national outcry.

The probationer scheme does have its merits but, once teachers pass their probationary year, they are cast out into a working environment where there are very few opportunities to enhance and maintain their skills. Many drift away from teaching for other employment, simply to pay the bills, or secure teaching positions abroad. Supply positions in most councils are closed as they have enough teachers on their books.

The scheme needs to be withdrawn for a couple of years to take care of the backlog of unemployed teachers.

George Fenton, Victoria Road, Barrhead.

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