Move home to Find work

17th August 2007 at 01:00
Only a third of new teachers have found a permanent job after probation

A TESS Scotland survey shows that less than a third of last year's probationers have found permanent jobs.

Only 887 out of 2,945 probationers who were employed in 27 local authorities are going into permanent work in the same authority, at the time of publication.

Another 55 have found work in a different local authority from where they served their probationary year meaning only 32 per cent of probationers have permanent work.

There are gaping disparities across the country. In Clackmannanshire, 32 out of 39 probationers have permanent jobs (82 per cent) and the rest have supply work. But just five out of 158 have found permanent jobs in Renfrewshire (3 per cent).

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Education, stressed that the picture would improve over time. "While there have been some reports over the summer that there are fewer posts for new teachers than previously estimated, there is evidence from local authorities that the situation is not nearly as bad as depicted in the press," she told a gathering of new teachers last week.

She underlined that surveys in previous years showed 90 per cent of newly qualified teachers were working in schools by October, indicating that "prospects are at least as good in teaching as in other professions".

Mrs Hyslop also said new teachers could be optimistic if they were willing to move home for a job, advising them to "broaden your horizons a little".

Bruce Robertson, Aberdeenshire Council's director of education, learning and leisure, said Scotland's probationer scheme had been "hugely successful" in attracting high-quality teachers to the profession but that not all parts of the country benefited equally. "I think what has to be reviewed is the method of allocating probationers to authorities," he said.

Drew Morrice, EIS assistant secretary, said it was too early to tell whether the number of teachers left without jobs was a "blip" or symptomatic of a wider problem only next year would that become clearer.

Former education minister Hugh Henry believes the solution is for the SNP to backtrack on one of its key manifesto promises. The shadow education spokesman for Labour said: "What I have said on a number of occasions is that, instead of scrapping the graduate endowment, that money would have been better used as a down payment to provide jobs to keep probationer teachers in education."

Matthew MacIver, chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, has noticed a change in outlook among probationers. Speaking after a GTCS organised graduation ceremony for around 60 randomly selected new teachers, he said: "I did get the impression that they were more accepting of the situation this year, that there was an optimism."

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