Figures for new teacher employment are "shocking", says EIS
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has condemned the poor employment prospects for many newly qualified teachers as "shocking” and called for urgent action by the Scottish Government to ensure that local authorities make sufficient posts available for new teachers who have completed their probation year.
The EIS spoke out as a new survey from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) showed that only 30% of post-probation year teachers have gained a permanent teaching post in the last year.
Commenting on the publication of the new figures today, EIS General Secretary Ronnie Smith said, "These are a particularly shocking set of figures, which paint an alarming picture of the prospects for thousands of newly qualified teachers and for Scottish education. Fewer than one-third of post-probation year teachers have been able to find a permanent teaching post, which has left thousands of enthusiastic young teachers facing a very uncertain future.”
Mr Smith added, "The number of new teachers gaining a permanent post has fallen dramatically in the last year, from 39.5% last year to just 30% this year. Thousands of our brightest young teachers are being forced into accepting short-term, temporary contracts which provides scant security for them and no stability for the pupils in our schools.
"A significant number of new teachers – almost one in three (30.2%) – have either been unable to find any type of work in teaching at all over the past year (13.5%) or are still sitting and waiting on a supply list in the hope of finding some work (16.7%). We are witnessing significant falls in teacher numbers nationally, with around 2500 fewer teachers working in our classrooms than two years ago.”
Mr Smith continued, "The fact that so many of our newly qualified teachers are unemployed or under-employed on very patchy, short-term, contracts is a tragedy not only for these individual teachers but also for Scottish education and its pupils.
"These enthusiastic new teachers, many of whom will have invested five years of their lives studying and training to become teachers, have made considerable sacrifices, both personal and financial, with the aim of making a positive contribution to our schools and young people. Many will have families to support, and may have given up other jobs or passed on other opportunities in order to enter teacher education”.
"Having encouraged more and more people into teacher education in order to meet the growing need for new teachers in our schools, there is a clear obligation on the part of the Scottish Government and local authorities to provide a fair and appropriate level of opportunity for these new teachers. It is a massive waste, both in human costs as well as financial costs, for these new teachers to be left unemployed or compelled to seek other jobs outside of teaching.”
Mr Smith went on to say, "The figures released today give a clear indication that urgent action is needed to reverse the declining number of teachers in our schools. The Cabinet Secretary, Mike Russell, must take action to ensure that local authorities employ more teachers. Currently, experienced teachers are retiring and are just not being replaced, leading to fewer teachers in our schools and larger class sizes for our pupils.
"Without quick and decisive action from the Scottish Government and local authorities, the long-term consequences for Scottish education and for the future of Scotland’s economy could be disastrous.”