Newly qualified teachers in Fife and Tayside remain jobless with just weeks until pupils are due to return to school.
Despite moves to bring retired teachers back into the profession during the coronavirus pandemic many of those who have completed their probationer year have yet to be offered contracts.
A joint letter from probationer teachers affected nationwide has urged Education Secretary John Swinney to take action and ensure their skills are not lost.
Letter to John Swinney on behalf of Scottish NQTs – please share and support NQTS.
Now more than ever we need to work collaboratively and innovatively to ensure all our young people receive the best possible learning opportunities.
NQTs should be mobilised. pic.twitter.com/gLuvv2xk4U
— Miss McAuley (@_MissMcAuley) June 18, 2020
It said: “It is deeply worrying and upsetting that with less than a week to go until our schools officially close for the summer break a whole batch of enthusiastic NQTs find ourselves unemployed and facing uncertainty about our futures in this profession.”
Referring to reemployment of retired teachers, it went on: “Given the risk attached to that age category and the fact that we have already adapted to blended and virtual learning models, does it not seem more logical to utilise us?”
People have been left worrying about paying their mortgage and bills.”
One new teacher told how Fife Council confirmed in what she said was an “impersonal” email with “no empathy” sent earlier this month that she met the criteria for a post but that it was unable to offer her a contract.
She said: “It’s nothing but scandalous. People have been left worrying about paying their mortgage and bills.”
The letter said education staff were still working with schools to ensure sufficient staff for August and that once Covid-19 recovery plans were finalised more teachers may be hired.
David Farmer, of the EIS Fife local association, said that Fife Council had been singled out by his teaching union for criticism over its treatment of NQTs.
He said: “Whilst procedurally what Fife Council has done is proper, in a moral sense it is completely improper.
“At this time in a pandemic and with the need for teachers it doesn’t make any sense at all.
“We want as many hands to the deck as we can have.”
We want as many hands to the deck as we can have.”
Probationer teachers would have been told after interviews in February and March that they met the criteria for employment, he said.
“Three months down the line to then tell them you have not got a job is not right,” he added.
“That’s not the way to treat young teachers, or any young person, who is seeking work.”
Fife Council said it had advertised for primary and secondary teachers across Scotland and appointed both internally and externally.
It is not possible to offer all our probationers employment opportunities.”
A spokeswoman said: “A large number of current probationers have been recruited to posts within Fife, however it is not possible to offer all our probationers employment opportunities, particularly within our secondary schools where pupil subject choice determines the staffing requirements for a school.
“Fife Council continues to support the teacher induction scheme and we will welcome our new probationers into their schools in August 2020.”
A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “We have employed on a permanent basis a number of NQTs and are currently finalising our requirement for session 2020/21.”
Angus and Perth and Kinross
Angus Council’s special arrangements committee will be asked to approve the recruitment of up to 40 temporary teachers on Tuesday.
Kelly McIntosh, director of education and lifelong learning, said: “It is planned to increase capacity through the retention of newly qualified teachers and recruitment of additional staff on a temporary basis.”
A Perth and Kinross Council spokesman said: “We are looking to offer all appointable probationers a contract from the start of the new term.
“Many contracts have already been sent out, with a small number to follow this week now that the staffing exercises have been completed.”
Mr Swinney said earlier this month he had asked the General Teaching Council to bring retired teachers and registered teachers who had left the profession back in schools.
They would be required to help deliver blended models which will see pupils attend school part-time and continue school work at home.