Figures released by the Scottish Government show that the share of post-probationary teachers able to find permanent positions has declined in each year since 2017/18.
The latest statistics, at primary level 2019/20 for example, reveal that fewer than 1 in 3 of 'year one' primary teachers were able to secure a permanent job. This is down from 58% in 2016/17. Permanent positions at 'year one' secondary level have also fallen by 10% over the same period. Temporary contracts overtook permanent ones for ‘year ones’ for the first time in 2019/20.
The decline of permanent jobs has been widely reported among newly qualified teachers this year. Willie Rennie MSP launched a petition with over 1,400 signatures, after dozens of concerned teachers in North East Fife were told that they had no job to go back to, only hours before the end of term. This was despite expectations that most new teachers would be offered positions for 2021/22 following an interview process in March.
One teacher told Mr Rennie that they were ‘absolutely heartbroken after giving their absolute all to a school, class and families for the past year, all through a pandemic’. Mr Rennie joined campaign group, Scottish Temporary Teachers, calling for the Scottish Government to find employment for thousands of teachers facing an unstable future.
Mr Rennie said:
"These figures show that the plummeting number of full-time jobs available for new teachers is part of a far deeper problem with Scottish Government policy, rather than short-term issues created by Covid.
“This casualisation of the teaching workforce must end. We need to stop the temporary funding that leads to temporary jobs.
"The way the Scottish Government has treated thousands of newly qualified teachers has been disgraceful. Despite endless election promises, many teachers and their families have been left in a dire position because of incompetent planning by ministers.
“The Scottish Government has finally listened to our pleas with a decision to “baseline” some funding for future years which will make the funding permanent. This teachers’ victory should not have taken weeks of bad press for ministers to recognise the problems facing our education system. But the SNP Government must go further by making more of the funding permanent so that it can be used to issue more permanent contracts.”