The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association today called on the Scottish Executive to undertake a rolling census of new entrants to initial teacher education and to teaching service.

“We need to have a more comprehensive picture of what is happening to the supply of teachers in Scotland,” said David Eaglesham, General Secretary of the SSTA. “At present, we do not adequately track the destinations of all those who enter training for teaching service. We need to know just what the effective retention rate is to ensure that we avoid future shortages.”

The Association will be asking the Scottish Executive to expand the collection and publication of data to provide a comprehensive analysis of intake to training, dropout within training, uptake of the induction year, intake to the longer probation period, and dropout from teaching service within the first five years.

“ We have tended to concentrate on getting initial teacher education places filled on the assumption that this will provide an adequate flow of teachers into the classroom. With changes in employment in society and a reducing pool of potential teachers, we need to ensure that all aspects of teacher supply are rigorously examined. As demand for new teachers will rise substantially in the coming 5 years, we must ensure that the models used for projected numbers correspond to the actual position in the schools. Theoretical teachers are singularly ineffective at any form of service delivery! Only actual teachers can serve the needs of young people.

Further details from:David Eaglesham

General Secretary