Supply list that's a moving target

27th August 1999 at 01:00
ALTHOUGH FIFE is relatively well-staffed at the beginning of term, supply lists are exhausted by October. Two working groups have been set up, one to look at supply and the other to deal with recruitment. It, too, is likely to set up an online database.

Alex McKay, the council's director of education, said some of the greatest difficulties are in special education where appropriate qualifications and experience are often thin on the ground. The authority has also had problems with cover for English, languages, business studies and computing.

"You can run into problems pretty quickly," he says. "Heads are faced with difficult decisions."

Mr McKay, a member of the Scottish Executive's working group on teacher supply, adds: "It's a market that is much more difficult to read than 10-15 years ago when you could put X number of students into training and expect X number to take up work in schools.

"Now young people are emerging from training with greater opportunities. Some go to England, some to the Continent, and it can make quite a significant difference. The supply group is trying to gain a better understanding of the market."

He warns: "I think we are operating too close to the margins in terms of total teacher availability. But there is a pendulum. A year or two ago, people could not get jobs. So it's a complex picture."

Mr McKay is not certain that creating a pool of permanent supply teachers will be attractive to young people who are more mobile than ever.

And he is surprised parents do not complain more often about the effects of staff changes. "If research was done on how it affects learning, some schools could find the results quite worrying."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now