Concerns over temporary contracts for NQTs
Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) are increasingly being employed on a temporary basis, causing concerns over the casualisation of teaching in Scotland.
The poll, carried out by the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS), showed only 24.9 per cent of respondents were in permanent full-time employment six to eight months after completing their training.
Tackling the problem
To tackle the problem, the Government reduced teacher trainee numbers, with the extra money being given to councils to increase teacher jobs. As a result, figures also showed the proportion of new teachers who are unemployed has decreased by 4% since 2011, the Herald Scotland reports.
"Too many talented teachers are struggling to find employment”, said Anthony Finn, Chief Executive of the GTCS. “There appears to be a prevalence of temporary teaching contracts which cannot be good for the stability of the profession and the consistency of teaching for our young people.”
Difficult to get full-time employment
Ann Ballinger, General Secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) commented, "any increase in employment is welcome, but these figures still paint a very bleak picture and it is still very difficult to get full-time employment. In some cases this will be an opportunistic move by councils to meet teachers’ targets while in other cases it is about uncertainty over local budgets, but this can only be detrimental to the quality of education."
Government determined to do all they can
However, the Scottish Government said teacher unemployment was now lower in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK. With those councils faced with smaller numbers of pupils deciding to cut teacher numbers to save money and teachers who were expected to retire staying on in post as their financial future became more uncertain, less new teacher posts were available than expected.
Mike Russell, Education Secretary defended the figures, "these results show that probationer teacher employment is better than in each of the last two years. The Government is determined to do all we can to help individuals who have chosen and committed to a career in teaching to be able to do just that and enable our children and young people to achieve all they can."
Julian Stanley, Teacher Support Network Chief Executive considers the issue of NQTs in his next SecEd column, out on Thursday. “Given that training an average teacher costs somewhere between £16,470 and £23,277, without even considering recruitment costs, what can be done to keep NQTs in the profession”, he asks.