Edinburgh faces '˜double whammy' teaching crisis

THE high number of teaching posts which cannot be filled in Capital schools is evidence of a crisis in recruitment, a union leader has claimed.

Friday, 30th November 2018, 6:21 am
Updated Friday, 30th November 2018, 6:30 am
Primary schools have been hit by the crisis

Almost 500 teachers’ jobs in Lothian have had to be re-advertised over the last three years, including 197 in Edinburgh.

Alison Murphy, Edinburgh secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s biggest teaching union, said a lack of financial and other rewards meant people were not joining the profession and existing teachers were leaving early.

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Figures obtained under Freedom of Information by the Scottish Conservatives showed nearly 3000 teaching posts across Scotland had to be re-advertised over the past three years, including 118 in West Lothian, 93 in East Lothian and 78 in Midlothian.

Ms Murphy said: “It’s more evidence of the real crisis with recruitment and retention.

“It’s part of why we say a serious settlement of our 10 per cent pay claim is essential. Schools are just not coping.

“It’s getting increasingly dire. It’s harder and harder to find specialist teachers in secondaries and it’s getting harder in some primary schools to get enough teachers.

“As well as unfilled posts, we cannot get supply teachers for anyone who is ill, we can’t get maternity posts filled.”

She said Edinburgh had already placed a moratorium on secondments which teachers valued for developing their careers.

She said: “People are not coming into the profession because they see salaries that don’t stay competitive and the things that make teaching a rewarding profession - like the stimulus from working with children and the chance to develop really interesting lessons - have been lost over the last few years because of the constant reorganisation and the overly bureaucratic nature of the work.”

She said the profession faced a “double whammy”. “We are not getting people coming in because the financial and other rewards are not there and we are losing people hand over fist because the stress is ridiculous.”

Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs said a “revolving door” of teachers meant children were not getting the continuity in education they needed. “SNP ministers are not giving teachers the support that they need to do their jobs, which is leading to this exodus.”

The government said it gave £88m a year to councils to maintain teacher numbers.

City education convener Ian Perry said: “Whilst recruitment and retention of teachers is a challenge facing many local authorities, in Edinburgh we have seen a reduction in the number of re-advertising posts. We currently have 28 vacancies advertised out of a total of 3500 teacher positions which is less than one per cent of the total number of teachers. Whilst this decrease is really quite encouraging we will continue to look at long-term strategies to continue this trend.”