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News Release 27Dec 2010

EIS Petitions Scottish Parliament on lack of jobs for new teachers


The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has lodged a 5,000 signature Petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for action to ensure sufficient jobs are made available for all newly qualified teachers at the end of their Induction (Probationary) year.

The urgent need for action has been reinforced by the most recent results from the annual General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) survey of new teachers which found that an all-time low of just 16.1% had found full time permanent posts, compared with 63.3% when the survey began in 2005. Over a quarter (27.1%) had found no teaching work at all, compared with 5.3% in 2005.

Commenting on the Petition, EIS General Secretary, Ronnie Smith said, "New teachers are fed up being caught in a game of political point-scoring between the Scottish Government and Councils over the last three years.

The Government claims they have provided sufficient funds for Councils to deliver their promise to maintain teacher numbers, while Councils say they have insufficient funds to do that. The simple fact is that Councils have cut the number of teaching posts by almost 3,000 (5%) over the past 3 years.

This has been made possible by the Government surrendering the levers it previously had to require Councils to deliver Government priorities. The COSLA/Government "Concordat” has done no favours for teachers or pupils in Scotland.”

Mr Smith stated that the EIS believes there is a shared responsibility, on the Scottish Government to provide the funds, and on Councils to apply these funds, to halt the haemorrhage of teachers’ jobs and to keep their political promises to the people of Scotland.

However, he warned that the situation looks set to get worse as a result of the recent budget deal – a Concordat Mk II - between COSLA and the Scottish Government which could see a further 1,200 jobs cut in the coming year.

He said, "While I welcome the Government’s ambition for Councils to create sufficient vacancies for the new teachers coming on to the job market next session, there is a significant backlog of unemployed and under-employed teachers from previous years who must not be forgotten. But the biggest challenge will be making Councils deliver.

Whatever the COSLA/Government agreement states, we have seen in the past week alone one Council after another announcing plans to slash and burn the education service and its workforce. One Council is even proposing to dump teachers and replace them with unqualified staff for 10% of the Primary pupil week.”

He added, "We have an abundance of high quality, enthusiastic new teachers ready to work in our schools. Instead they are unemployed and under-employed in record numbers while Pupil-Teacher Ratios deteriorate, class sizes increase and the successful implementation of Curriculum for Excellence is increasingly put at risk.

It is time now for the Scottish Government to stand up and make a clear statement on the number of teachers it wishes to see in our schools and how it intends to ensure they are employed. If they can do it for police numbers, they can also do it for teacher numbers”.

For further information, please contact Brian Cooper on 0131 225 6244