Probationer jobs slump

21st August 2009 at 01:00
Only one in seven newly-qualified teachers secures permanent post

The number of probationers finding permanent jobs has plummeted to a new low, The TESS can reveal.

Returns to our annual survey from all 32 authorities show that only 477 out of 3,153 probationers employed last session have secured permanent teaching posts - or 15 per cent, a fall from 32 per cent since the first TESS probationer survey in 2007.

Three councils could not provide any permanent jobs - Glasgow, Scotland's largest education authority, along with Inverclyde and Renfrewshire. At this stage in 2007, Glasgow had found 70 permanent non-supply jobs for probationers. A spokeswoman said there were 1,000 fewer pupils in the city compared to this time in 2008; a staffing review next week could create some permanent posts.

Even when temporary posts and supply lists are factored in, only half of last year's probationers appear to have found work in Scotland.

Worried teachers' leaders have called on the Government to renege on its concordat with local authorities, and to fund attractive retirement packages to free up more teaching jobs. Education directors fear the recession is making teachers delay their retirement plans.

The picture varies widely across Scotland, but not a single auth- ority found permanent jobs for more than half of its probationers.

Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, was concerned not only about the overall number of people getting jobs, but the quality of those jobs. This was reflected by the falling number of permanent posts which, he said, was "really, really bad news".

He believes it may be time for ministers to take greater control and reconsider the concordat with authorities, which allows spending decisions to be made locally.

Mr Smith suggested that more central control could address the widespread failure to achieve targets for lower class sizes, thus creating more jobs. The downward trend also made a case for offering retirement incentives to older teachers.

John Stodter, general secretary of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, said: "Local authorities have been struggling within their tight budget settlement, with a lot of demands contained in the concordat. They are beginning to feel the pressure."

He stressed that temporary employment was often a route into full-time employment. Even so, he called for a cash injection from the Government to allow councils to reduce the number of teachers at the end of their careers and increase opportunities for new teachers.

A Scottish Government spokes-man said: "We wouldn't expect every probationer to have a job at the start of the school term, as vacancies arise throughout the year. This is reflected through the regular GTCS surveys, the last in April showing 89 per cent of post-probationer teachers employed in a teaching role."

Local authorityProbationers 2008-09Total employed 2009-10 in permanent jobs





Aberdeen City2320276
Argyll and Bute481165923
City of Edinburgh21519*5134034
Comhairle nan Eilean1531230
Dumfries and Galloway882713141336
Dundee City7627**19440**3
East Ayrshire74615na20
East Dunbartonshire733**003**3
East Lothian85642na11
East Renfrewshire101927017
Glasgow City226000na75
North Ayrshire10519136na16
North Lanarkshire21215510na65
Orkney Islands1883545
Perth amp; Kinross80206143312
Scottish Borders50139459
Shetland Islands1520271
South Ayrshire65404819
South Lanarkshire232411031na68
West Dunbartonshire98624na22
West Lothian1634726216528

  • *Includes one post-probationer employed in a special school
  • **Figure includes four permanent supply staff also recorded in permanent jobs column
  • ***Figure only includes permanent supply jobs; an unspecified number of probationers will receive temporary supply work
  • ****Actual total will be larger as not all authorities could give figures for supply work
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