Lib Dems uncover massive fall in permanent contracts for new teachers

Children in Scotland go back to school this week. You would think that after three hellish years of pandemic related disruption and a widening attainment gap, the SNP Government would want to make sure that there were as many permanent teachers in the classroom as possible.

Every year the Scottish Liberal Democrats at Holyrood look for the number of newly qualified teachers being offered permanent posts rather than fixed term or supply contracts. In the past 5 years, that has fallen from 56%, which was low enough, to just 23%.

On the back of those figures, STV News has spoken to three teachers about the impact that this uncertainty has had on them. Heaven knows we need more girls doing STEM subjects, and here is a woman teacher in those subjects who can’t get a permanent job:

She said: “I’ve had almost 80 interviews in the past four years, where my feedback has been always excellent, I’ve been a very strong candidate, that my interview has been very good, and yet I’m still not being successful in getting the job.

“It’s terrifying as a single parent with a mortgage. I’ve not slept properly in months.”

Without any work lined up, the single mother from Ayr has now been forced to claim Universal Credit.

One skill that the SNP has in abundance is the ability to blame others for their failings. It is depressing to see Cabinet Secretary for Education Shirley Anne Somerville put the blame on to local councils, which the Government has been drastically underfunding for a decade and a half.

If they are serious about giving this generation of children a decent education, they will have to support the teaching profession.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Forgive my ignorance but I thought that the normal way into the teaching profession was for newly qualified teachers to take a one year fixed term probation post then, once fully qualified, to look for a permanent post – and every student was guaranteed a probation post. So, are you speaking about the numbers who can not get permanent posts after their probation year? I do know that there is a real mismatch between where jobs are available and where many teachers are looking for permanent jobs, with huge vacancies in the northeast and qualifies teachers in the central belt unwilling or unable to apply for these posts, preferring to take supply work until a permanent position in their preferred area becomes available. I’m not sure how you address this problem apart from having remote payments for posts in the northeast like teachers get if they take jobs in the islands.

  • Andrew MacGregor 15th Aug '22 - 3:31pm

    It’s excellent that you have been looking at the figures for newly qualified teachers being given permanent posts. However to focus on just one dataset would suggest a lack of interest in the sector in order simply to score a political point.

    How many teachers have been qualifying year on year for the last five years, by subject and level?
    How many teachers are retiring, leaving the profession, required per year, by level and subject?
    What is the current ratio of pupils per teacher annually since 2007 to now, at each level?

    It seems an oversimplified position to take just to look at one figure, particularly on the back of a pandemic with increased numbers of Scots from under-privileged backgrounds going to do degrees and additionally to do modern apprenticeships.

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