The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has produced its annual Employment statistics for newly qualified teachers.
Its key findings are:
- The proportion of probationers with full-time permanent employment contracts is 24.9%. This is up from 20.5% in Spring 2011.
- The proportion of probationers with part-time permanent employment contracts is 4.2%. This is up from 2.4% in Spring 2011.
- The proportion of probationers with full-time temporary employment contracts is 34.2%. This is up from 25.5% in Spring 2011.
- The proportion of probationers with part-time temporary employment contracts is 10.1%. This is down from 10.3% in Spring 2011.
- The proportion of probationers with full-time supply employment contracts is 6.4%. This is down from 8.6% in Spring 2011.
- The proportion of probationers with part-time supply employment contracts is 2.9%. This is down from 5.4% in Spring 2011.
- The proportion of probationers on the local authority supply employment lists is 5.3%. This is down from 11.1% in Spring 2011.
- The proportion of probationers not in employment is 12.0%. This is down from 16.2% in Spring 2011.
One rather surprising and disappointing aspect of the survey is the response rate:
"The survey response rate was 22.7%. This compares with Spring 2011: 41.9%; Spring 2010: 41.5%; Spring 2009: 39.4%; Spring 2008: 33.4%."
That is a considerable and significant drop in responses and must cast some doubt on the accuracy and consistency of the survey's findings over time, especially if the trend continues, particularly after previous rises in responses year on year. It would be interesting to know the reason for the decline.
Anthony Finn, Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland commented that:
“The response rate to this survey is disappointing 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.”
We would certainly agree with him about the quality of Scotland's probationers.
Commenting on the key findings, Jennifer Hannah, Voice's Senior Professional Officer (Scotland) said:
“Voice Scotland is disappointed to note the increase from 25.5% to 34.2% of probationers on full-time temporary contracts, which is concerning for the stability of the profession as a whole.
"It is also not surprising to learn that the number of newly qualified teachers with full-time permanent contracts remains low, at just one in four. However, given that this indicates an increase from last year, when one in five newly qualified teachers had full-time permanent contracts, this indicates a movement in the right direction.”
In November 2007, a Voice (then PAT) survey of newly qualified teachers and head teachers across the UK (‘Comparative Study of Induction Period Placements for Newly Qualified Teachers in England, Scotland and Wales’) found that NQTs in Scotland benefited from a guaranteed induction year while those in England, and particularly Wales, often found it difficult to gain the teaching post they needed to be able to complete their induction, and recommended that a guaranteed induction year for all NQTs across the UK should be considered.
The research followed on from the union's 2006 Annual Conference, where members voted in favour of the motion
"Conference calls on the Governments of England and Wales to follow the good example of Scotland and guarantee an induction year for all students who complete Initial Teacher Training".
The survey's key findings were:
- Demand for teaching posts far outstripped the supply of such posts there was tough competition amongst NQTs to secure a post of any kind following Initial Teacher Training (ITT). Some took posts for which they were not specifically trained.
- In order to start teaching, NQTs in Wales and England will take on supply work, without any assurance from their school or local authority that this work will contribute to their induction period.
- Other posts secured included temporary or part-time work with no guarantee of being able to start the required induction period.
- Additional burdens are placed on NQTs in England and Wales who are unable to settle in a secure post and develop consistent working patterns. As a result, they become anxious about completing their induction period.
- For some NQTs in Scotland, a guaranteed induction year brought peace of mind and assurance of continued work in the profession following induction.
- For others in Scotland, there remains the challenge of obtaining a permanent post at the end of the induction year. Anecdotal evidence indicated that a guaranteed induction year is not good for the profession as it provides a 'back door route' into a permanent job for some who may not succeed through the usual recruitment process.
- NQTs in Wales reported that demand and competition for appropriate teaching posts exceeded the number of vacancies. It is evident that the challenge of securing a post is significantly greater than in England or Scotland.
- There was a clear feeling among NQTs in Wales that all United Kingdom induction systems should be standardised. In terms of equality and fairness, it was felt that the Scottish model should be adopted. The reliance on supply work, at numerous schools and in several Local Authorities could be solved by the introduction of a Guaranteed Induction Year.
The report concluded that:
- NQTs trained in subjects of greatest demand modern foreign languages, science and maths, for example are more likely to complete their induction period within the required time because they were able to secure appropriate posts at an earlier stage.
- There is a strong likelihood that a long and disjointed induction period for NQTs who were unable to take up such positions may lead to disaffection and ultimate loss to the profession.
- A guaranteed induction period for NQTs should be given serious consideration, in order to provide a more standardised and equal opportunity for NQTs.
Do let us know your thoughts and experiences, particularly if you are a probationer .