Thousands of new teachers being registered every year as only a few hundred leave

Retired teacher-educator and former Associate Dean for Quality Assurance at the University of the West of Scotland, Dr John Robertson has reassured parents that Scotland’s schools are the best-equipped in the UK to help pupils recover from the effects of the pandemic.

As the General Teaching Council has indicated without any expression of concern, around 2 600 new teachers were awarded full registration in each of the last five years while only around 500 dropped or lost their registration. This is a healthy turnover, bringing much needed ‘new blood’ into the system.

Overall, Scotland’s schools are far better staffed than those in England with significantly more teachers in post per pupil:

In Scotland:

The total number of full time equivalent teachers has risen to its highest figure since 2008, official statistics confirm. New figures have revealed that there were 53,400 teachers employed in early learning and childcare, primary, secondary and special schools or centrally employed.

This is 1,153 more than the 2019 total (52,247). Average class size in primary schools fell to their smallest since 2012, down to 23.1 from 23.5 in 2019. The 2020 pupil teacher ratio for all publicly funded schools was 13.3, an improvement on 2019 when it was 13.6.

The ratio in Primary schools is now 15.4 pupils to 1 teacher and in Secondary schools, 12.5 to 1.

In England:

  • In state-funded primary schools, the PTR has remained at 20.9 in both 2018 and 2019 despite a continued increased in pupil numbers.
  • In state-funded secondary schools, the PTR has risen from 16.3 in 2018 to 16.6 in 2019, continuing the trend of year-on-year increases seen since 2012.

Note, the English figures include unqualified teachers (!)

Now, whose fears were those?

Larry Flanagan of the EIS who was at Stirling University with Richard Leonard and Jamie Greene MSP (Con) are ‘concerned’ but what about the GTCS? Not so much as a wee worry expressed by them, unsurprisingly.

5 thoughts on “Thousands of new teachers being registered every year as only a few hundred leave

  1. Scotland has the best education system in the world by far. Life long learning. 30% pupils go to university. 20/25% mature students. 15% EU students. + foreign students. 70% + . Canada has the next highest 56%. US 45% – 33% at Batchelor degree level. Scotland has 15 unis pop 5,5million. The most pro rata in the world. World class. The oldest in the world.

    Scotland the first country to have tertiary education. The ability to learn. Not the ability to pay. ‘Scotland the land of invention and discovery’. Chinese. The Chinese Premier came to Scotland first on a visit to Britain. Scottish invention shaped the world. TV, radio, telecommunication. Led on to the internet. The world communicated and organising on the internet.

    It could be even better without Westminster interference in the Scottish economy and budget.

    Colleges and apprenticeships. Tradespeople. skills, can earn a comfortable living. Improved skills. 98% of school leavers have a unique destination.

    Teachers have higher qualification and are paid more by comparison. Class sizes need to be kept down. Less paper work. Council keep class sizes higher based on the statutory limit 30. Reduce the limit. Councils poor organisation skills keep class sizes higher. The SNP Gov has ring fenced educational budgets so Councils cannot cut the resources to balance the budget. Building empty shops and offices. Instead of schools and houses. Wasting £Millions/Billions.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hence the “Exclusive” label John, the view from the few who ignore the reality for the rest of the world ?

    The pattern of “Covid-19 recovery fears” stories is unmistakeable, but in reality only the latest Brexit chaos smokescreen


  3. Just take a wee deek over the Irish. Sea
    And you soon see the results of abject failure of poor education with no positive
    Not rocket science is it
    Just inhale and smell the petrol and burning rubber


  4. Alasdair Galloway:

    John, I’m afraid I am going to have to provide at least a wee shower on this parade, if not rain on it.

    Let’s just say, someone of my acquaintance, gave up a job in the third sector (charities) that she had done for about 10 years, amongst other things setting up a whole new programme. She decided to get into Primary teaching because that job took her into schools and she enjoyed talking to/with the kids.

    Her University year (she has a 1st from Strathclyde) was a bit of a disaster because instead of finishing in June, it finished toward the end of March last year (no one’s fault, obviously).

    Her NQT year has been in a local authority quite near Glasgow, and has been difficult not just because of the lockdown. First, she has never had a classroom – yep, that’s right NEVER had a classroom. Every day, she has to move the class to another room! I dont know about you but when I was at school, a room was kind of a possession, but neither she nor the kids she is teaching have had that.

    Secondly, as you know, technology is important, and introducing the kids to it, is an important part of their education. Her class gets to use the tablets etc once a week and more often than not, they dont work!

    I dont want to go into further detail because it might lead to identification, but safe to say, it hasnt been a positive experience. I expect she will soldier on next year, but then again will she? I am not sure how many new teachers are produced by the Education Schools in the various Universities, but I believe there are 88 vacancies in the whole of Scotland, and understand many of them could be described as “out of the way”. Glasgow has no permanent posts available and there is competition to get onto the list for cover. Until you are on that list and get two years continuous service (which will be subject to control by the Council – got 1 year, 11 months and 28 days – tough, you wont be working for us for a bit) you wont get a permanent post. Is this anyway to control your labour force? If this was a private sector employer would you not be outraged? I would!

    She has applied for a job in the LA she is in now, and also an application for a job which requires skills that I cannot believe too many teachers will possess – but, from her previous employment, she does. Still, its a local authority, and maybe someone knows someone who knows someone (if you know what I mean)

    What I am trying to communicate John, is that despite the top line numbers looking as they do, all is not well below the surface. I always told my students, one should never argue from a single case, that is what I am going to do, because I dont have another one (though the other NQT teachers in her school and in her Uni year that she is in contact with, seem to say much the same thing). These range from using NQTs as cheap labour and then spitting them out – it seems one teacher who will have two years service by the end of the year is getting made redundant in May!

    There is more, but I think the other important point is that she doesnt blame the govt (or Nicola Sturgeon). She is quite clear the bad guys all work for the Local authority.

    To be honest with you, what perplexes me more than anything is that the turnover isnt higher.


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