New induction scheme fails to create jobs in Scotland ...

14th November 2003 at 00:00
New teachers in Scotland are struggling to find permanent jobs following their induction year. Teacher-training graduates in Glasgow, which employs more teachers than any other authority in Scotland, have fared particularly badly. A survey, conducted by TES Scotland, reveals that 54 out of 103 primary probationer teachers in Glasgow are on temporary contracts. Almost one-third of secondary probationers are on similar ones.

In Stirling, 18 of the 34 primary probationers are working full-time. Of the secondary intake, 14 out of 32 have found jobs. A large number of Edinburgh's 90 probationers are also on the supply list.

This year's teachers are the first to graduate through the new Scottish induction scheme, which was introduced in August 2002. This replaced previous probation arrangements, in which full registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland could only be gained after the equivalent of two full years of teaching experience.

This two-year induction period was often spent in a number of posts, occasionally in more than one local authority. Teachers were thus forced to scrabble around for work, moving from one temporary contract to another.

As a result, the induction period often extended over more than two years, with teachers taking an average of three-and-a-half years to complete the requirements of full registration.

The new scheme guarantees a one-year training post to every student graduating from a teacher-training programme in Scotland. Teachers are provided with an experienced induction tutor, and are able to set time aside for professional development.

But, at the end of the probation year, there is no guaranteed permanent job. Instead, many teachers are forced to work as supply teachers or on temporary contracts until a full-time position becomes available.

Teachers forming the first cohort undertaking the one-year programme were expected to benefit from continuous classroom experience. But, despite these advantages, graduates of the new scheme have found that permanent positions have not been more forthcoming than they were for their predecessors.

Jim Docherty, assistant secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers'

Association, suspects that trainee teachers were mistakenly led to think that the new programme would make it easier for them to find work. "The new probation year guarantees teachers a job for the period it takes them to complete probation. That's it. After one year they're back in the same merry-go-round they would have been in under the old system," he said.

But, he added, if Scottish schools are to avoid a serious recruitment crisis, teaching will have to become a significantly more secure profession. "There has got to be money put up front to employ probationers from the year they qualify. The sooner that's done, the less remedial action the Government will have to take in 10 years' time."

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