Edinburgh and Lothian schools 'short-changed' over number of probationary teachers, claims MSP

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Scottish Government accused of failing to provide councils with resources schools need

Schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians are being “short-changed” by the Scottish Government over the allocation of probationary teachers, an MSP has claimed.

Figures show that Lothian’s four local authorities – Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian – asked for a total of 554 probationary teachers last year, but only 483 were allocated, 71 fewer than requested.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs accused the government of failing to provide the councils with the resources needed to support schools and teachers in the area.

Schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians were allocated 71 fewer probationary teachers than requested by councils.  Picture: Sean Bell.Schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians were allocated 71 fewer probationary teachers than requested by councils.  Picture: Sean Bell.
Schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians were allocated 71 fewer probationary teachers than requested by councils. Picture: Sean Bell.

According to a parliamentary answer by Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth, Scotland’s 32 councils as a whole received a total of allocation of 3,161 probationary teachers, 657 fewer than they had asked for. But a handful of councils – including Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Stirling – got more than they asked for.

Edinburgh requested 244 and was allocated 215 – 29 fewer than it asked for; East Lothian asked for 93 and was given 72 – 21 short of the request; Midlothian requested 71 and got 49 – 22 short; but West Lothian asked for 146 and was allocated 147 – one more than requested.

Mr Briggs said the shortfall in probationary teachers was “further evidence” of the SNP government failing to hire the number of teachers required in schools. And he urged ministers urgently to lay out a plan to deliver more permanent teaching posts and, in the meantime, ensure that the shortfall of temporary teachers was addressed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “It is unacceptable that pupils across Lothian are not receiving the expected standard of schooling due to a lack of probationary teachers being allocated. Teachers already have enough on their plate, without having to pick up extra slack because SNP and Green Ministers have yet again failed to deliver.

“When the SNP came into government they claimed that education was their priority, however the education of pupils in Scotland has never been so disrupted. Pupils and teachers in schools across Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian are being badly let down by this SNP- Green government.

“An urgent plan is needed to properly support schools in the region and create more permanent teaching posts.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Teacher Induction Scheme is funded by the Scottish Government and the allocation of probationary teachers is based on student choice. Local councils are responsible for recruiting and employing teachers and the Lothians have received a fair share of probationary teachers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The Strategic Board for Teacher Education is looking at issues around the recruitment and retention of teachers in Scotland in detail, including how probationary teachers are allocated.

“Scotland has the most teachers per pupil and the highest paid teachers in the UK. We have also provided councils with an additional £145.5 million in this year’s budget to protect teacher numbers. This additional funding provides funding assurance for councils and helps them employ staff on permanent contracts.”