The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association today issued a warning to all local authorities about the effects of the treatment of cover teachers on long-term shortages.

“We continue to be notified of attempts by some local authorities to implement ‘Burger King' style contracts for cover teachers, leading to huge differences in pay for teachers doing almost identical hours,” said David Eaglesham, SSTA General Secretary. “Our view is, and always has been, that cover teachers should be employed for whole days and paid for whole days. Despite this, we still see teachers being pressured to accept work for only parts of a day, and even two separate parts within one day. All of this is carried only in an effort to save costs and not for the benefit of young people. We call on all local authorities to revert the original practice of employing teachers for a whole day or days.”

The position of cover teachers will become even more critical to the available pool of teachers in coming months and years. As the age profile sees much greater numbers of teachers retiring, the system will have to work doubly hard to maintain the number of teachers and to increase it to the promised total of 53,000.

“If cover teachers are not properly paid, they are very likely to become disenchanted with either their employer or with teaching in general. Losing these teachers, many of them young teachers with a whole career potentially before them, will only compound the impending staffing crisis which will face our schools. Employers need to act now to avoid the spectre of part-time education and bonus schemes to attract new teachers. Penny pinching now will lead to much greater costs in the future.”

Further details from:David Eaglesham,

General Secretary