Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Fifth of new teachers not working

Teacher in classroom
Nearly half of newly qualified teachers responded to the survey

One in every five new teachers has been unable to find a job in Scotland's classrooms, according to new figures.

A poll by the General Teaching Council for Scotland also suggested 30.6% of new teachers had a full-time permanent job, compared with 40.8% last year.

Labour said the statistics showed that the profession was being casualised.

The Scottish Government said it was unacceptable that some councils had not used their funds to cut class sizes and hire teachers.

The survey found that in October this year 79% of new teachers were working in the profession in some form, with either a permanent job, temporary post or supply work.

That total was down from 87.8% the previous year.

The GTC Scotland research was based on 1,478 responses to its survey - 44% of the total number of newly qualified teachers.

This is an utter waste of talent
Margaret Smith
Lib Dem education spokeswoman
Its chief executive, Anthony Finn, said: "As the regulatory body for the profession we are obviously concerned that the number of teachers in employment has dropped from last year.

"We are currently producing some of the most talented teachers we have seen in Scotland and it is important they get the opportunity to put their skills into practice and to contribute new ideas to the development of the profession."

Rhona Brankin, Labour's education spokeswoman, said: "These figures expose the shameful treatment of probationary teachers in Scotland."

She said the number of teachers in permanent jobs had "crashed" and that the Scottish Government appeared to be "hell bent on the casualisation of teaching" with an increasing number of teachers doing supply work.

Tory schools spokeswoman Liz Smith said the figures sent out a "depressing message" to those thinking about entering the profession.

She called on ministers to put more emphasis on "removing the rigidities within the labour market for teachers".

'Clear contrast'

Margaret Smith, the Lib Dem education spokeswoman, said: "This is an utter waste of talent.

"The Liberal Democrats have highlighted again and again that the SNP's poor funding settlement for councils means that local authorities are having to cut their education budgets."

However, Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop said much of the blame lay with the councils.

"These figures reflect a clear contrast in priorities across local authorities," she said.

"Across Scotland, the year-on-year increase in local authority education budgets between 2007-08 and 2008-09 was 5.5%.

"And yet some local authorities, such as Glasgow - with a 15.6% budget increase year-on-year for 2007-08 over 2006-07 and a significantly large proportion of the government's education spend - are choosing not to hire teachers, and so not reduce class sizes."

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