Recent figures reveal that hundreds of newly-qualified Scottish teachers are leaving the profession or moving abroad to teach, the Sunday Post reports.
Nearly 1,000 probationers in Scotland – or approximately one eighth of those who qualified – have quit the profession in the last three years.
A number of concerns surrounding pay, workload and abuse suffered whilst teaching are forcing staff to find new careers. A survey released last month showed 70% of teachers have dealt with ‘serious verbal abuse’ and one fifth have been physically assaulted.
Scotland’s largest teaching union, the EIS, acknowledged that trainees are moving overseas after gaining one year’s experience to earn a higher salary.
General secretary Larry Flanagan commented: “Anecdotally, the EIS is aware of [newly-qualified] teachers heading off to teach abroad, in Dubai for example, clearing students loans and building a house deposit in the process.”
Flanagan added that the Scottish government and local authorities must prioritise the recruitment of teachers and retention of existing teachers, in order to ensure a high-quality educational experience across the country.
“The most important steps to solving the growing teacher shortage are action to tackle excessive workload and a significant increase in pay levels, following a decade-long decline in teachers’ salaries,” he said.
After completing their probationary period, teachers living in Scotland begin on a salary of £27,438, which can increase to a maximum of £36,480 after six years.
During the training year, the salary is £22,866 but this can rise by £6,000 in primary schools or £8,000 in secondary schools if teachers are willing to work anywhere in the country. This leaves many facing a pay cut even though they have a year’s experience.
In comparison, teaching jobs in Dubai are advertised with salaries of up to £35,000, with earnings not affected by tax.
In response to a parliamentary question by Tory MSP Oliver Mundell, education secretary John Swinney said there was a total 7,602 probationary teachers in Scotland in 2014, 2015 and 2016, of whom 6,614 went on to work at a school in the following years. This leaves a shortfall of 988 teachers.
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