Why train us if there are no jobs teaching?

Kirstin Crabbie has had to accept a teaching post in Cairo

Kirstin Crabbie has had to accept a teaching post in Cairo

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WHEN Kirstin Crabbie approached the end of her primary school teacher training, she accepted she would have to look beyond her small, Morningside school for permanent employment.

As the year’s probation ended, she filled out dozens of applications for schools across the Lothians.

However, the summer has elapsed and the 38-year-old has had to look even further afield for permanent work, such is the shortage of opportunities in the Capital.

In fact, the Abbeyhill woman has had to move to a new continent just to work in the profession for which she spent the last two years training.

Her experience backs up figures released this week which show only 16 per cent of probation primary teachers secured full-time, permanent work last year, which has prompted criticism of authorities for putting too many through training.

Ms Crabbie, who worked for a year at St Peter’s Primary in Morningside following completion of the postgraduate course at Moray House, said: “I was pretty confident I would get something in Edinburgh.

“I’ve lived here for 18 years and had no plans to leave, but what choice is there?

“Everyone signs up to the supply list, but at best that would get you one day a week.

“I’ve even heard that when schools receive applications, they put the CVs of newly-qualified teachers straight in the bin to cut the list down.”

She said there were 290 newly qualified teachers vying for a role when she left Moray House, and everyone she knows has had to leave Edinburgh for work.

Next week, she departs for the Egyptian capital of Cairo to work in an international school. “It isn’t what I’d planned to do, although it will be a good opportunity,” she added.

“It’s OK for people like me who don’t have any ties, but what about those who have families?

“It makes you wonder why we’re all trained up but have no jobs to go to at the end of it.”

The Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) shares Ms Crabbie’s fears, and said that it was destabilising not only for the teaching profession, but for children too, who will be finding it less likely to get used to having the same teacher.

General secretary Ronnie Smith warned it could have a negative impact in future when a clutch of teachers retire.

He said: “We know looking at the age of teachers that there will be a spike in retirements in a few years, and what is happening now is turning people off the idea of becoming a teacher. So it could bite back.”

He added that public money was also being wasted by training an excess of new teachers.

“We spend all this money doing that, only for other countries to benefit,” he said.

amorris@edinburghnews.com