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Rennie: Teachers have been disrespected and abandoned

June 8, 2021 3:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today warned that teachers have been disrespected and abandoned after the publication of a new open letter highlighting damaging job instability in teaching.

The letter was sent by the Temporary and Supply Teachers in Scotland group, which has over 2,000 members, and highlighted the proliferation of short-term contracts and a lack of job opportunities driving qualified teachers away from the profession.

The letter also notes the failure of the outgoing Education Secretary to respond formally to the group's concerns.

Mr Rennie said:

"As we bounce back from the pandemic one of the key priorities has to be the education of children and young people. Just as we strained every sinew to help the NHS, we should be doing the same to help teachers and pupils build back.

"There are thousands of teachers who are qualified and desperate to teach but many of them are without jobs and have little certainty of what lies ahead. Despite taking their plight direct to the previous Education Secretary, they have been disrespected and abandoned.

"There is no way to reduce class sizes without employing more teachers. But many teachers are learning right now that there isn't a job for them in August. That's unfathomable given the need to help pupils bounce back.

"The SNP's previous promises on class sizes have never been met and it is now clear that the Government has no plans to ever keep their word when it comes to tackling the attainment gap.

"The government needs to reverse the massive growth in temporary, short term teaching contracts and offer permanent jobs instead. Anything less risks driving thousands of talented teachers out of the profession for good."