Trained, but nowhere to go

24th August 2007 at 01:00
Like many others who have finished their probationary year, I am now an unemployed young primary teacher. I have left a school where I taught successfully for a year, and where I loved my job, to find there are virtually no vacancies for teachers across east central Scotland.

I had a great year as a probationer: my teaching was praised by my mentor and other colleagues. Having given my all to the school community, growing in enthusiasm and confidence daily, leaving the school with no prospect of a job and the opportunity to do what I am passionate about was heartbreaking.

Over the last few months, I have been applying for any jobs that came up across east central Scotland (approximately 25 posts). From these applications, I had just two interviews. When I sought feedback from the schools where my application was unsuccessful, I consistently got the same esponse: there was nothing wrong with my application or, on the occasions I got one, my interview.

The reason I was not getting interviews or job offers was simply that, in the case of each job I had applied for, the school had received more than 200 responses; the job had gone to somebody meeting the exact requirements of the school at the time (or, anecdotally, somebody known to the headteacher). It has been crushing to find that there are nothing like enough permanent posts to give me a reasonable chance of making a successful application.

I understand there is such a surplus of teachers because increased numbers of people have been trained in recent years in anticipation of a large number of retirements. However, the majority of these teachers are not due for retirement for several years. In the meantime, hundreds of people have been trained and are now left with nowhere to go an unforgivable waste of time, money and resources.

The profession is now at risk of losing many highly competent and enthusiastic new teachers. If it continues down this route, becoming a profession with limited job prospects or perceived as such by young graduate students (who badly need to earn after years of studying), authorities will have a struggle on their hands to recruit enough new teachers to replace those who will be retiring.

Emma Nock

276 Maxwell Street, Edinburgh

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