10 SES 06 B, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
This paper reports on exploratory work carried out in conjunction with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, with the cooperation of the Scottish Government. The research has been undertaken at a time when teachers education and teachers’ terms and conditions are under active review and discussion (Donaldson, 2011; Scottish Government, 2011).
An innovative Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS) was introduced in Scotland early in the 21st Century, which aimed to guarantee a well-supported probationary year for every newly qualifying teacher. As the scheme has developed a number of factors appear to have created difficulties with ensuring that the intended smooth transition from pre-service preparation through Initial Teacher Education (ITE), into a subsequent career as a full-time teacher, is rarely the experience for the individuals concerned.
This scheme is considered to be among the best in Europe.
This project therefore examines the range of issues that may arise in the early years of teaching in the Scottish context. The study connects both with literature on the early phases of the teaching career in Scotland, the UK and elsewhere, as well as with literature in the wider sociology of work. A review of the literature on ‘the new work order’ shows the significance of such concepts as ‘flexibilisation’ and the particular relevance this has in work fields that are regulated by professional bodies, such as teaching.
This pilot study draws both on quantitative data from the annual teacher census, that enables the employment trajectories of teachers to be tracked post-qualification, as well as on twenty substantial interviews carried out with recently qualified primary and secondary school teachers.
These interviews focused on:
Transition from university into the workplace
First impressions/encounters in the workplace
Experiences of induction and support during the first year
Support and development needs following the first year (experience or expectations)
Achievement of full professional status (usually after one year for teachers)
Longer term employment prospects
In 2011 fewer than twenty per cent of those completing the TIS moved into permanent full-time posts. Many found themselves undertaking intermittent supply (temporary) teaching. The effects on morale have been very bad for some of those concerned. After four or five years of studying and then completing probation, several respondents were considering whether teaching is their future. Even some of those who felt more secure reported deteriorating terms and conditions of employment.
The paper concludes by considering whether early career teachers elsewhere in Europe are faring any better than the Scots.
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