Teachers sought to fill retirement gaps

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FORTY new teaching jobs are being advertised across the city’s secondary schools to replace staff who took “early release” at the start of summer as part of a management shake-up.

The permanent posts have been created to replace 52 principal teachers who opted to leave their jobs through the council’s Voluntary Early Release Arrangement (VERA).

The re-structure is part of a controversial review of the management system in Edinburgh’s 23 secondaries which is designed to save £2.4 million over two years by demoting 139 principal teachers and axing 15 deputy head posts.

Education bosses had to take on 56 temporary teachers in a range of subjects over the summer to plug the gap in schools created when the principal teachers left through VERA.

They have now decided to make 40 of these jobs permanent and will advertise them this month. The remaining temporary jobs will stay in place until next summer to ensure there is “continuity” for pupils sitting exams.

Parent councils across the city united with opposition councillors to oppose the management shake-up. Their fears included the effect of losing a wealth of experienced teachers in one go. Labour’s education spokesman, Councillor Paul Godzik, said he still had concerns about instability for pupils as a result of all the recent changes.

He said: “The need for so many temporary staff, arising from the removal of so many experienced teachers, is not a perfect situation.

“I do not doubt the skill and dedication of the staff that have been brought in, however, I hope that the council will ensure that these posts are made permanent as soon as possible, providing our schools with greater stability.”

The Evening News revealed last week that 80 principal teachers will be demoted from next month as their roles are phased out to make way for new “curriculum leader” posts.

As part of the same shake-up, education chiefs will be taking the management responsibilities away from the “surplus” principal teachers, who will then become classroom teachers while maintaining their salaries for up to five years.

A total of 206 curriculum leaders jobs are being created, compared with the 460 principal teacher roles held across Edinburgh’s secondary schools. The appointments are expected to be made next month.

The new roles will see staff being put in charge of a faculty rather than individual subjects, reducing the number of management posts within schools.