Probationers are the future

10th October 2003 at 01:00
Thirty odd years ago some Glasgow schools were on part-time education and financial incentives were on offer to attract teachers to hard-pressed areas. Some fear we may return to such a scenario unless recruitment and retention improve dramatically. Scottish Office records show this has never been an exact science and problems of matching supply to demand have been with us for decades. No one believes we have ever got it right, most of all graduating students with accumulated debts running to thousands of pounds.

They want a job and soon, especially after recent high-profile recruitment campaigns to encourage them into the profession. Many are mature entrants with family commitments - just the type we want.

Sadly, they are not yet in a position to walk into a permanent, decently paid post, even after the new one-year induction scheme, which has been richly applauded for its effectiveness. The next stage is proving equally difficult and it is leaving many new and willing entrants deeply disappointed at their treatment. As we have known for years, many simply leave for other jobs because none are immediately available in teaching.

This is immensely wasteful and it is as well there is an official investigation. Time is running out to head off a staffing crisis in some subjects and in some areas.

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