In a bid to make the teaching profession more attractive and boost recruitment, teachers are to be offered a year’s paid sabbatical for the first time.
The aim is to stop the increasing numbers of teachers leaving the classroom.
Now the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, says he wants teaching to offer more flexible working so it can compete effectively against other graduate career choices.
Though teaching has generous holidays already, of 13 weeks, the profession is seen as being inflexible with part-time and job share working being slow to take off.
Now the government is worried that the numbers of teachers who are deserting the profession needs to be tackled. They say in 2011, around 6% or 22,260 teachers left which rose to 8.1%, or 34,910, by 2016.
The biggest losses are being seen in secondary schools.
Pilot sabbatical scheme should help with teacher recruitment
Now, a pilot sabbatical scheme should help with teacher recruitment and see applicants demonstrating that their paid time off will help complement their role as a teacher either through working elsewhere or through extra studies.
The sabbatical will last between one term and an academic year but only teachers who have racked up 10 years of experience would be eligible to apply.
To help the pilot scheme, the government has provided £5 million to pay for 138 year-long sabbaticals or 400 short-long breaks.
Mr Hinds said: “We all have a shared goal of ensuring teacher teaching remains attractive and fulfilling.
“We will look at things that discourage those from entering teaching and making them consider leaving.”
The general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, Paul Whiteman, said: “A sabbatical fund will be welcomed and it’s what we’re asking for though we also need to see the 1% pay cap lifted and basic pay improved.”
Hundreds of new Scottish teachers quit profession
Meanwhile, it’s been revealed the hundreds of new Scottish teachers are leaving the profession.
Official figures reveal that one in eight of those teachers who qualified, it’s around 1,000 probationers, left Scotland’s teaching profession since 2015.
Their concerns have included abuse suffered while in the classroom, heavy workloads and pay.
Scotland’s biggest teachers’ union, the EIS, says it is aware that after a year’s experience, trainees are moving overseas to earn higher salaries.
Larry Flanagan, the union’s general secretary, said: “We are aware of newly qualified teachers who are heading overseas to teach, for example in Dubai, and are looking to clear their student loan and build-up a deposit for a house.”
He added that the country requires more teachers to help deliver a high quality education and called on local authorities and the Scottish government to prioritise the recruitment and retention of teachers.