Covid Scotland: Supply teachers report lack of work opportunities amid pandemic


Almost half of supply teachers are struggling to find work during the pandemic, a survey shows.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) asked its members about temporary contracts, with many reporting a lack of employment opportunities.

Out of the 1,800 teachers who responded to the survey, 44 per cent said there was a shortage of suitable employment opportunities during the pandemic.

Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, said: “Supply teachers across Scotland continue to face significant challenges in securing suitable work, despite a very clear need for additional teaching staff to support young people in their remote learning.

“For some supply teachers without work, and who have been unable to access job retention payments, they are now in their sixth week with no income.

“For some supply teachers without work, and who have been unable to access job retention payments, they are now in their sixth week with no income.” See our full survey report here:
— EIS (@EISUnion) February 10, 2021

“We have heard statements from the Scottish Government that all available teachers must be deployed to support education recovery, but the findings of our survey confirm that many supply teachers still cannot find work.”

The lack of employment opportunities means teachers are also struggling to make ends meet, the survey showed.

Some respondents even suggested they were now leaving the profession for financial reasons in order to seek work elsewhere.

Mr Flanagan added: “More teachers are needed to support remote learning – particularly for those young people living in particularly challenging circumstances, who are significantly less likely to have engaged in remote learning during the lockdown period.

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“Once more pupils return to school, additional teachers will also be required to support education recovery for our young people.”

A Cosla spokesperson said: “Due to the ongoing situation we find ourselves in and our continued main objective of getting the workforce in place to deliver the broad range of essential services to our communities, we have had to adapt our practices and procedures to suit.

“The bottom line however remains that councils, in line with our agreement with Scottish Government, are fully committed to the employment of newly qualified, recently qualified and those teachers on supply lists.”

Schools in Scotland will return on a phased basis from February 22 subject to final confirmation in two weeks’ time.

Under the plan, if confirmed, all children under school age in early learning and childcare will return.

Pupils in Primary 1 to Primary 3 will also be allowed back into school, as will those in the senior phase of secondary school.

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However, the First Minister said older pupils will only be able to return to ensure practical work important to achieving qualifications is completed, and only between 5% and 8% of any school’s roll should be able to return.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We are determined to get our children back to normal schooling – and by extension back to much greater normality in their lives – just as quickly as it is safe to do so.

“That is our overriding priority and I think it is right it is the overriding priority of all of us.”


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