Warnings from the chalkface: changes needed to address teacher shortages

01.09.2017

Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee is making over 30 recommendations to help address Scotland’s teacher shortages. The recommendations come after the Committee heard from over 650 teachers and trainee teachers.

The Committee’s inquiry examined the reasons for some teachers considering leaving the profession early. It also considered what would make training to teach or moving to Scotland to teach more appealing.

Committee Convener, James Dornan MSP said:

“When we asked teachers for their thoughts on the profession, what was clear from the start was the dedication and passion of those who had chosen teaching as a career. But what was also clear was for many hard working teachers there are concerns about the profession they love.

“Addressing the challenges facing existing teachers is fundamental to increasing the number of people who want to become a teacher. We are recommending reducing the ‘box ticking’ elements of their roles; providing financial reward and status for classroom teachers; providing more promotion opportunities; and setting manageable workloads for headteachers.”

The Committee also heard that for many teachers, the public bodies responsible for providing support to them were too distant. The Committee has now called for:

  • education authorities to prove that they understand the pressures on their schools;
  • Education Scotland and SQA to go ‘back to the classroom’ to develop a clearer understanding of the challenges faced by Scotland’s teachers; and
  • the Government to ensure planned reforms do not increase workload.

The Committee also recommends that there should be no unnecessary barriers for the hundreds of teachers from outwith Scotland seeking to move here to teach.

More information about the Committee’s work can be found here.

Background

The report also makes a number of recommendations on improving workforce planning processes, including more planning for the correct number of training places at a local level, and for training to be in flexible formats to suit mature students.

The Committee’s inquiry also looked at issues facing trainee teachers and heard about issues with training placements in schools as well as literacy and numeracy training. The report recommends that the Scottish Government investigates the extent of issues around literacy and numeracy and produces a baseline standard.

Copies of teacher submissions and all other submissions can be found here.

The inquiry completed evidence taking in advance of the announcement of Government education reforms and in advance of the announcement to tender a new route into teaching so the report does not make detailed comment on these matters.

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