Full-time teaching jobs rise, GTC Scotland survey suggests

Teacher at board in classroom About one in 10 newly qualified teachers found no teaching work, according to the survey

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A survey has indicated a rise of almost 15% in the number of newly qualified teachers with full-time permanent jobs.

The General Teaching Council (GTC) poll of probationer teachers suggested 35% had found full-time work, compared with 20% in last year's survey.

The EIS union attributed the rise to an agreement with ministers over teacher numbers, but said more had to be done to tackle a fall in supply work.

The Scottish government said employment rates were the best since 2006-07.

According to the survey carried out this autumn, 35.4% of teachers who had just completed their probationary year found a full-time permanent teaching post, compared with 20.9% last year.

Larry Flanagan, the general secretary of teaching union the EIS, said: "This shows that steps taken to address the problem - including the guarantee on teacher numbers that the EIS secured as part of the last pay agreement and which the Scottish government has committed to continuing for the forthcoming year - are delivering better opportunities for newly qualified teachers."

But he said he was concerned by the "dwindling number" of supply teachers working across the country.

Analysis

In recent years it has been tricky to summon a smile that is 100% encouraging when bright young things have told me of enthusiastic plans to go into teaching.

Many applicants - and their parents - have been under the impression this honourable, important profession also offers job security.

But last year only 20% of new teachers walked into full-time permanent posts.

Today's report indicates a tidal shift, with a 15% rise in that figure.

In total, more than 60% of newly qualified teachers are now securing full-time posts, albeit many of them are temporary contracts.

The EIS teaching union attributes the improvement to the deal it forged with the Scottish government on teacher numbers.

It says it is conscious that supply teachers did not fare as well, with a cut in pay - a move linked to difficulties finding cover for absent staff. It plans to revisit that agreement.

"The previous changes to supply teacher pay and conditions clearly have had a detrimental impact on the availability of supply teachers, a vital part of the education service, and the issue needs to be revisited," he said.

"The EIS will be making this a priority in the imminent negotiations at the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers."

This year's results also suggested more new teachers found part-time permanent employment, up from 1.6% to 4.9%.

And about one in four teachers found full-time temporary contracts (26%), while 8.1% were on part-time temporary contracts.

Probationers are polled every autumn by the GTC for Scotland, which then reports the findings to the Scottish government.

This year's survey response rate was 30.7%, with 570 teachers out of a possible 1,857 completing the questionnaire.

Anthony Finn, chief executive of GTC for Scotland, said: "The response rate to this survey is relatively low but it is still a valid sample and provides us with useful information about the employment prospects of our probationer teachers, who are some of the best qualified and most talented anywhere in the world."

He added: "It is clear that these figures show an improving trend in employment prospects for new teachers in Scotland. This is a welcome development after a number of disappointing results in recent years.

"Earlier this year we stated that we thought the figures were bottoming out and beginning to rise. We are pleased that this year's survey appears to confirm this.

"Despite this good progress, there is still some way to go before the employment prospects of new teachers return to the levels which applied a few years ago."

Falling unemployment

A Scottish government spokesman said: "We welcome the survey's findings showing that post-probation employment rates are now better than they have been since 2006-07.

"Teacher unemployment is lower in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK."

He added: "There has also been an increase in the number of probationers securing full-time permanent teaching contracts. Overall these trends are consistent with recent Jobseeker Allowance claimant count figures which show steadily falling unemployment rates, with October's figure the lowest October figure since 2005."

Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith welcomed the figures but highlighted the concerns about supply posts - especially those which were "very short-term".

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