Six in ten failing to gain a full-time job

12th December 2003 at 00:00
Six out of ten teachers new to the profession failed to gain a full-time permanent contract after completing their probationary year.

Figures released by the General Teaching Council for Scotland show that just over 42 per cent won permanent posts in schools after the new one-year induction scheme, which gives them full registration with the council.

Long and short-term contracts and supply lists remain a significant route into the profession, even when the pressures are growing for considerably larger numbers of new recruits. Many can be expected to slip into posts over time but there are still no guarantees about work under the new probationary system.

More positively, a GTC analysis of authorities' staffing, backed by a survey of 831 probationers who replied to a questionnaire, shows that 82.2 per cent of newly registered teachers are employed in some form of teaching post.

That leaves around one in five with apparently no job in teaching. Some 340 teachers out of around 2,000 probationers seem temporarily lost to the profession, although the council accepts it does not have complete data on all those who completed their probationary year last June.

Figures show that seven have moved abroad to teach, 10 to England and 17 to the independent sector. Others are on gap years.

Returns from Scottish authorities show nearly 70 per cent have remained with the authority they chose for their induction year.

As well as the 42.5 per cent with a permanent contract, some 21 per cent are on long-term contracts of more than three months, 4 per cent are on short-term contracts of less than three months and 15 per cent are on the supply lists.

Four authorities - Renfrewshire, Highland, Orkney and the Western Isles - employed all the teachers in their induction year. Dundee and South Lanarkshire are employing at least 85 per cent of last year's probationers but at least 40 per cent of teachers who completed their probation in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Falkirk, East Renfrewshire and East Ayrshire now appear to be working in another authority.

Jack Laidlaw, chair of the GTC's probation committee, said: "The statistical base is not as big as we would have liked on the teachers'

responses but from the evidence we have, the results are really rather encouraging."

The GTC will use the information as a benchmark for the future.

Meanwhile, a GTC review of the induction year, Achieving the Standard for Full Registration, reveals that 97.5 per cent of the 2,021 probationers were recommended for full registration last June. Thirty-six teachers (1.78 per cent) won an extension to their provisional registration, either because their competence was challenged or because their health suffered during their year. A further 13 (0.64 per cent) had their registration cancelled.

"Overall, the vast majority of our new teachers were coping well with the demands of the new induction process," the GTC says.

the council found that some primary headteachers were over-assessing probationers. It adds: "While it is understandable that supporters in the primary sector want to provide a high level of support and guidance for new probationer teachers, there is a fine line between doing that and overwhelming new teachers with too much help and advice."

The recent primary headteachers' conference heard claims that it can take schools three years to fully train staff since the demands of the curriculum are so great.

ONCE A WEEK IS ... TOO MUCH

The General Teaching Council reminds primary headteachers not to over-assess probationers. Some were observed almost once a week "which seems quite excessive".

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