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What chances of a job?

A teacher applying for a post at Mearns Castle Primary in East Renfrewshire would have had a one in 350 chance of getting it; at nearby Busby Primary, a recent job advertisement attracted 250 applications

A teacher applying for a post at Mearns Castle Primary in East Renfrewshire would have had a one in 350 chance of getting it; at nearby Busby Primary, a recent job advertisement attracted 250 applications

A teacher applying for a post at Mearns Castle Primary in East Renfrewshire would have had a one in 350 chance of getting it; at nearby Busby Primary, a recent job advertisement attracted 250 applications.

East Renfrewshire is not exceptional. A similar vacancy in South Ayrshire is understood to have received 200 applications.

Competition for jobs, in certain areas at least, is tougher than it has been in decades. Surveys by the General Teaching Council for Scotland demonstrate how much harder it is for new teachers to find a permanent job: in 2006-07, only 49 per cent of teachers found a permanent position after probation, compared with 54 per cent in 2005-06, and 69 per cent in 2004-05.

Rebekah Stackhouse (right), 24, is a case in point. She completed her probation in 2007 and has been working on a temporary contract in a Fife primary for the past year. She is looking for her next job. She has applied for a permanent contract with Fife Council, but estimates around 200 others also applied.

"They should look at the number of people they are putting through courses. It is frustrating to come to the end of probation and find not only are there few jobs, but there are lots of people in the same position."

If she cannot find a permanent contract soon, she will consider leaving the profession. She would, she says, be happy to move.

"Fiona Hyslop says new teachers have to be prepared to move, which suggests nobody is. That is not the case. So many of us would just like to have a job and be settled."

Jenny Price, 29, from Moray, has been doing primary supply since she finished her probation last year. It feels as if teachers are being "stockpiled", she says. Jenny is worried about finding work, even just supply, next year when another cohort of post-probationers is "released into the area". But supply has been good for her, she says, enhancing her ability to deal with behaviour issues and giving her experience of a variety of schools and age-groups.

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