ONLY a quarter of newly qualified teachers have secured full-time permanent jobs in Scotland’s schools, a survey has found.
A poll carried out by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) showed 24.9 per cent of respondents were in permanent full-time employment six to eight months after completing their training.
Although the figure was slightly up from 20.5 per cent in spring 2011, teaching unions yesterday warned of the increasing “casualisation” of the profession, with many teachers forced to take temporary contracts.
The survey found that 34.2 per cent of respondents were in full-time temporary contracts, compared with 25.5 per cent in 2011.
A total of 12 per cent of new teachers were unemployed, compared with 16.2 per cent last year.
Anthony Finn, chief executive of the GTCS, said: “These figures show an improving picture of the job prospects for our probationer teachers.
“But there are clearly still difficulties. Too many talented teachers are struggling to find employment and 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.
“However, it looks like the figures bottomed out in 2009-2010 and are now rising, which is a positive sign.”
The GTCS admitted it was, however, disappointed by the response rate to the survey, which was completed by just 22.7 per cent of new teachers, compared with 41.9 per cent last year. The regulator said it had no way of knowing the employment status of those who did not take part.
Larry Flanagan, the general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, said there were concerns over the number of teachers taking short-term contracts, as well as the dwindling number of teachers applying for supply work after a new pay deal saw supply rates halved to around £78 a day before tax. The figures showed the proportion of new teachers on local authority supply employment lists was 5.3 per cent, down from 11.1 per cent last spring.
Mr Flanagan said: “There must be concern over the apparent growth in short-term and temporary contracts for teachers. While the creation of new teaching jobs is welcome, the quality of those jobs must also be considered.
“The marked growth in the use of temporary contracts by many local authorities is leading to the casualisation of the teaching workforce and robbing schools and pupils of the vital stability that is needed to ensure a high-quality learning and teaching experience in all parts of our education system.”
Scottish education secretary Mike Russell said: “The most recent numbers of teachers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, from April 2012, were lower than in the same month in 2011. This positive trend has emerged over the past 20 months and I am keen to ensure it continues.
“The Scottish 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.”