The jobs market is a nightmare, with new teachers unable to find posts, working teachers afraid that their pay and conditions will deteriorate in the rewriting of the national agreement - afraid even for their jobs in some areas - and weary teachers unable to get out because they can't afford to. It's a critical issue, which is why we have made it the cover story for the first TESS magazine.
One of the benefits of our new format is that it allows us to devote more space to major topics and research them in depth, hence our investigation - authority by authority - into opportunities for recruitment and early retirement (p10-13). What emerges is a postcode lottery.
TESS has reported many times on the tragedy of probationers unable to find jobs. A browse through our online forums can track the sad journey from the prospective students buzzing with excitement as they await dates for their Jordanhill or Moray House interviews, to the probationers sharing advice on good resources for their new class, to the supply teachers growing totally disillusioned as they sit by the phone waiting for a call. It's not a happy scene.
But our survey this week shows that all is not lost. There are jobs out there if you know where to look or you are prepared to travel. There are even shortages in unexpected subjects. It may not help you if you are unable to leave your family and work 200 miles away, or if you studied biology instead of chemistry. But students would do well to study the maps and graphs we have produced to see where the jobs might be and consider those areas for placements. Several of the local authorities admit to advertising their posts internally only, so if you start out in the right place, you could be in with a better chance. Choose wisely, would be our advice.
On the recruitment front, we are doing what we can to help newcomers to the profession. We have expanded our classified section to include local authority classroom vacancies alongside promoted posts and independent and international schools, so jobseekers have a one-stop shop that is easy to browse. And if they need professional guidance, there's plenty in our features section on books, resources, and good practice in the classroom.
For those who have had their fill of good practice and just want out, there's advice on what you need to know about early retirement (p12), what kinds of deals teachers in other authorities are getting and how retirement can affect your pension.
It's the same unfair game of chance - but don't despair. You will soon get to put your cross on a different kind of ticket when the Holyrood elections take place in May (and you can grill the hopefuls in our public debate, p8). Then you can pick and choose who you think should get early retirement.