EIS calls on First Minister to act on under-employment of teachers across Scotland

Created on: 11 Aug 2023 | Last modified: 14 Aug 2023

The Educational Institute of Scotland, has written to First Minister Humza Yousaf calling for action on the lack of job security for many newly and recently qualified teachers across Scotland.

In recent years, Scottish local authorities have increasingly appointed new teachers on short-term temporary contracts, offering little job security for new entrants to the teaching profession. As a result, a growing number of teachers are leaving the profession to seek more security elsewhere, with serious implications for the Scottish education system.

In the letter to the First Minister, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley says: “I write on the urgent matter of precarity of employment for thousands of teachers in Scotland, whose professional and personal lives are in turmoil, as a result of the lack of the job security that many were led to believe they would have by entering the teaching profession."

“You may recall that I raised this issue with you in early June. I appreciated the concern that you expressed at the time and have become increasingly concerned myself as more and more members have contacted the EIS over the summer months in desperation at the prospect of no work when the new school session begins.”

Ms Bradley’s letter continues, “These are highly qualified professionals whose commitment to children and young people, to education and to the teaching profession in Scotland, has been demonstrated through the years of study that they have undertaken, often at significant personal sacrifice and expense; through the successful completion of a rigorous probationary year; and through the achievement of an exacting suite of professional standards.”

“In embarking on such a path, many will have done so in direct response to the Scottish Government’s own ‘Inspiring Teachers’ and ‘Teaching Makes People’ recruitment campaigns of 2016 and 2017, which rightly sought to bring more graduates into the profession. Regrettably for the thousands of teachers who undertook their ITE courses in good faith, the long-term staffing strategy for Education has not served them well.”

Ms Bradley’s letter adds, “Not only does the staffing situation that I’ve outlined negatively impact the lives and wellbeing of thousands of teachers, to the point that many are simply leaving the or plan to leave the teaching profession in Scotland, the EIS believes that it falls short of delivering the quality of education that children and young people in Scotland should have the benefit of at all times, and particularly as our education system struggles to recover from the pandemic, and our most socio-economically disadvantaged children and young people from blow after blow of Westminster-driven austerity on their education.”

“On behalf of the EIS, I ask again that you give this matter urgent consideration and provide additional funding to local authorities that is effectively ringfenced for the recruitment of additional permanently employed teachers, as well as looking carefully at teacher workforce planning for the years ahead to ensure stability and sufficiency of teacher staffing within our schools ongoingly.”