Scottish government, not councils, to blame for teacher job crisis – Scotsman comment

If Shirley-Anne Somerville did not realise the depth of anger among trained teachers about the lack of permanent jobs – despite government campaigns to persuade them to train and much rhetoric about getting more into classrooms – she does now. At least, she should.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville needs to demand funding to enable schools to employ sufficient numbers of teachers on a permanent basis (Picture: Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/pool/PA)
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville needs to demand funding to enable schools to employ sufficient numbers of teachers on a permanent basis (Picture: Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/pool/PA)

Using the hashtag #letusteach, teachers took to Twitter en masse in an attempt to persuade the new Education Secretary of the injustice they have suffered and how it is damaging education.

One trained primary school teacher, who left a career in business and qualified last year, told the Scotsman that she felt “hoodwinked and demotivated, having literally sacrificed so much time and money to follow my dream job”, only to discover she has been unable to find a job.

Another, who has been trying to get by on supply contracts, sometimes for just one day, said: “I never thought that I would become part of the gig economy when I became a teacher.”

The Scottish government’s initial reaction to the campaign noted that “local authorities are responsible for the recruitment and deployment of their staff”. It then proceeded to list a number of figures about how many additional teachers they planned to help councils recruit and how much money they have been spending.

Read More

Read More
Qualified teachers unable to secure work round on Scottish education secretary a...

However, no one should imagine that councils are to blame for the current situation. Instead, it has arisen because of chronic under-funding by central government for years.

It is all very well for ministers to talk a good game, but the reality is that unless councils have enough money to employ teachers on a permanent basis, then they have little option but to resort to getting by on supply teachers and those in their first year since qualification, who are cheaper to employ.

Only a fool would think that would not have a serious impact on the quality of education. It should be obvious that schools need experienced staff who are able to build up a rapport with the students, not here-today, gone-tomorrow supply teachers on zero-hours contracts, if standards are to improve.

Given the problem of teacher recruitment has been so eloquently described, Somerville has no excuse to ignore it. Now she needs to start banging the table in Cabinet meetings and demanding the necessary funding to restore the once world-leading reputation of Scottish education.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.