Majority of Scots teachers would not recommend the career to others

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A clear majority of Scottish teachers would not recommend the career to others due to their relentlessly rising workloads, according to research published on Wednesday.

School staff also listed changes to the curriculum, long working hours and poor pay as the main reasons for being unhappy in their jobs, the survey by Scotland’s largest teaching union shows.

A clear majority of Scottish teachers would not recommend the career to others. Picture: Scottish Government

A clear majority of Scottish teachers would not recommend the career to others. Picture: Scottish Government

Of the 1,000 teachers who responded to the Educational Institute of Scotland, 58 per cent said they would not recommend doing it as a career, a rise of 4 per cent on last year. Holyrood’s opposition parties described the results as “deeply worrying for the future of education” in Scotland, given that many schools are already to fill vacancies in certain subjects. More than a third of teachers (34 per cent) said their workloads had increased “significantly” over the past academic year, with 72 per cent saying they were dissatisfied with the situation. The vast majority (90 per cent) said they did not have enough time to dedicate to their own professional development as a result, a 5 per cent increase on last year.

The EIS, which released the findings ahead of its annual general meeting in Dundee on Thursday, said it was clear that workload was a “huge concern” to Scotland’s teachers. “The results of this survey make for worrying reading,” said Larry Flanagan, the union’s general secretary. “Despite statements from the Scottish Government, local authorities and national education bodies that promised action to tackle excessive levels of teacher workload, the results of our survey indicate that little has improved and some difficulties actually seems to have grown worse.”

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He added that Scotland’s teachers were “overworked, undervalued and underpaid” and called for ministers to commit to a significant pay rise to reward their efforts. The EIS has called for a 10 per cent rise across the board, arguing that school staff had seen their pay packets fall by a fifth over the past decade. Negotiations between ministers, unions and councils are ongoing, with both the EIS and the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association threatening strikes if they deem the offer unacceptable. Filling teacher vacancies has become a major issue for some schools, with figures released in January showing that thousands of jobs have had to be re-advertised over the past three years. One secondary school in Aberdeenshire failed to fill an English teacher vacancy despite advertising the position six times in as many months, the statistics showed. Tavish Scott, education spokesman for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said pressure in the classroom was “getting worse” and called for a major review into the teaching profession. “There is no avoiding the conclusion that many teachers do not feel they are valued or that the classroom is a good choice of career,” he added.

“That is deeply worrying for the future of education across Scotland. Schools are struggling to find the staff they need.” In an attempt to plug the gaps in Scotland’s classrooms, a bursary scheme has been launched offering cash payments of £20,000 to people who leave their current careers to teach key subjects. The bursaries are designed to tempt graduates with degrees in the crucial STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths into teaching.

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