Introduction

1.1. The following resolution was approved by the 2009 Annual General Meeting:

"This AGM instructs Council to investigate and report on the effect on staffing levels in Local Authorities which receive more than their quota of probationary teachers."

1.2 In processing this resolution the Salaries Committee took the view that the reference to probationary teachers could refer only to probationers on the Teacher Induction Scheme. There are a number of probationers who follow the flexible route but who are not "allocated" a Council. 

Allocation to Councils 

2.1 Under the terms of the Teacher Induction Scheme Councils are required to advise Scottish Government and the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) of teaching vacancies. Students who are in their final year of qualifying through graduate or postgraduate courses of study at a Scottish teacher education institution are required to fill in a proforma identifying a preference list of 5 local authorities or agreeing a preference waiver. 

2.2 In the initial years of the Scheme the funding was allocated to Councils on  a ring fenced basis. Following the introduction of the Concordat the money is provided directly to Councils as part of the local government settlement. 

2.3 It is clear there is no quota to Councils. The match is made between declared vacancies and student preferences. Informally, based on budget allocation and the size of the teaching force, there is a perceived threshold for each Council. However, the determinant for government and GTCS is to find a match between the number of students and places. 

2.4 To secure a match Scottish Government offers some Councils "fully funded" probationers. A fully funded probationer is one whose costs are met fully by Scottish Government, whereas normally a probationer on the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS) is funded at 0.7fte with 0.1fte for mentoring costs. "Fully funded" probationers do not fill vacancies but allow for the release of some teachers to other duties. In the early years of the Scheme Councils were asked to confirm to Scottish Government the circumstances in which a fully funded probationer was placed. This practice was discontinued following the Concordat. 

Staffing Levels 

3.1 There is at present no staffing standard applying across all Scotland's Councils. Each Council will determine its own staffing formula. 

3.2 While staffing may vary across Councils all Councils will staff schools to ensure that class contact hours for teaching staff are observed and that class size maxima, deriving from the SNCT Handbook,  government regulation or departmental circular are observed. In addition the majority of Councils provide additional staffing to give management time to promoted members of staff. 

3.3 Council staffing standards apply across all schools in a Council area regardless of whether that school has a probationer on the TIS filling a vacancy or a fully funded probationer. 

3.4 Some Councils which have received a significant number of fully funded probationers have also cut staffing standards. However cuts in staffing standards have either taken place or will take place over the  next few years across several other Councils without significant numbers of fully funded probationers. It cannot therefore be concluded that there is a direct relationship between probationer placement and  staffing standards. 

Conclusion 

4.1 This resolution is based on an assumption that each Council receives an allocation of probationers pre determined by Scottish Government. There is, however, no formal quota system. Places are allocated when Councils declare vacancies.

4.2 It is difficult to conclude that there is any direct connection between Councils having fully funded probationers and determining to cut staffing levels.