Head quitting after 33 years hits out at education cuts

A Lothian headteacher who said she is 'emotionally and physically exhausted' has hit out at education cuts after announcing she would be leaving the profession after 33 years.

Wednesday, 10th May 2017, 10:24 am
Updated Thursday, 11th May 2017, 9:49 am
A number of teachers are appearing at the Scottish Parliament today.

Isabel Marshall, head of Newtongrange Primary School in Dalkeith, said she would be stepping down in June amid claims funding cuts and soaring indiscipline.

Appearing at today’s Education and Skills committee, she will tell MSPs: “‘I regret having to make this decision.

“However, I no longer feel I have the resources to do the job to the level I feel it requires.”

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Mrs Marshall has been in the profession for 33 years and head of Newtongrange for the last 12.

She also warned there were not enough specialist support teachers available for children with anger problem and also claimed teachers were increasingly expected to address “all the social ills”.

In her submission, she states: “I have tendered my resignation after 33 years in teaching and 12 as headteacher as I feel emotionally and physically exhausted. I will leave school in June 2017.”

Mrs Marshall added: “Over the past three years the deputy headteacher (DHT) and I have had to cover substantial blocks of absence cover for sickness.

“This session I recruited an additional DHT - this would allow for one year to have two non-teaching DHTs. However, due to illness of one of the DHTs we had only one.

“The local authority provided an additional class teacher until December but I did feel guilty that this was at the expense of colleagues who were doing class cover as I had previously.”

Mrs Marshall is one of several teachers and trainees who have given written submissions to the Scottish parliament’s education committee and are appearing in person today.

Some will today tell MSPs they do not intend to stay in the profession.

Emma Newton, a primary teacher in West Lothian, states: “Most of us feel undervalued and overworked and there will be at least one person each week talking about leaving.

“Inspections are worthless as the people carrying them out have been out of the classroom for too long and have no idea what most teachers deal with on a day-to-day basis.”

Meanwhile another teacher, Halla Price, hit out over her training, saying she “spent the first three years making clay pots, puppets [and] burning candles”.

She added: “Without my enjoyment of the teaching placements and determination to reach the end goal of becoming a qualified teacher, I would have dropped out in sheer dismay at how uninspiring the course was.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development confirmed that CfE was the right model for Scotland, while noting the challenges the Scottish Government is working to address.

“Our deal with local authorities to maintain the pupil-teacher ratio halted a period of steady decline in recruitment and resulted in 253 more teachers last year - the first substantial increase since 2007.”