By Rory Reynolds
SO many young Scots teachers have been struggling to find jobs that they’re taking jobs abroad – 3400 miles away in Qatar.
Teachers are travelling to the oil rich emirate to take up permanent posts – rather than face being on the supply list in Scotland for years.
Of 215 teachers who completed their probationary year in the Edinburgh area during 2008/2009, just 19 have been given permanent jobs.
And countries like Qatar – which lies on the Gulf of Arabia – are becoming increasingly popular for Scots as they are home to many international schools and English is widely spoken.
Nova Dingsdale from Edinburgh has applied from 30 jobs since the beginning of this summer – but failed to find a post.
She is now leaving for Qatar in a week – along with a group of 14 other teachers – to take up posts at The Cambridge School in Doha.
She said: “I was aware of the situation when I started but I was also told that West Lothian had the highest retention rate of probationers, so that’s where I chose to go to give me a better chance.
“I hope that it would work out by the time I finished my probationary year – but it obviously hasn’t.”
And despite now having a permanent job waiting for her in Qatar – Nova is concerned that many teachers don’t realise that there are limited jobs available in Scotland.
She said: “I feel kind of mixed of mixed about going to Qatar.
“I’m quite excited – but I do feel that they shouldn’t be putting too many teachers through the training college when there’s no jobs.
“You do all that training and all that hard work and there’s nothing at the end.
“If I didn’t move abroad, I would have had to go on the supply list and would have had to get another job for the security.
“I’m happier that I’m going away to a permanent job than I would be staying here and being on the supply list.”
Neil McLean, Edinburgh secretary for the UK’s largest teachers union, said that the number of probationary teachers getting jobs are getting worse “year-on-year”.
He said: “I have members who in the last three years, since graduation, have had only limited supply work – very few have got permanent jobs.
“Many of our young members have left to work in England.
“I have also had one member going to Australia and another to Canada to find work – they may not come back.”
Some schools in the Middle East are actively looking for teachers from Scotland – because they know the situation is so dire.
Roddy Hammond, from the Sanza Teaching Agency, is urging teachers from Scotland to work in Qatar.
He said: “It has a fantastic climate, it’s very safe as there is no crime, and the teaching experience is a good one because they are investing an awful lot of money into eduacation.”