I write as a newly qualified teacher of chemistry and physics just beginning my first year of a career in teaching.
Although Scottish myself and trained through the Scottish education system, I had to undertake my PGCE course in England for financial reasons. I chose to become a teacher because I felt it would be a rewarding, although extremely challenging, career and would provide me with an opportunity to make a difference.
I left my fellow trainee teachers behind in England, where they were to receive a pound;4,000 "golden hello" and a total repayment of their student loans, to come back and teach in Scotland, the country that I love.
I was lucky enough to get a job teaching in Dumfries and Galloway where there have been extreme shortages. It is my understanding that, in some cases, pupils were being taught Standard grade science by non-scientists and that some schools have been advertising for over a year for teachers with no reply.
I am extremely disappointed to say that, rather than being welcomed with open arms, Dumfries and Galloway schools are being penalised for taking on teachers like myself and many others in similar circumstances who are trained outside Scotland.
The school where I am teaching is doing its best to give me the same benefits as other probationer teachers across Scotland, including a reduced timetable for training purposes. As far as the council is concerned, however, it has no obligation to help the school finance a reduced timetable for five new teachers and therefore the school will be charged for five full-time teachers.
What the council is happy to do is pay us the same rate as probationer teachers across Scotland - without the benefits. Unless there are some changes made, local authorities will continue in their struggle to attract new teachers.