Under the headline:
‘Thousands of experienced teachers quit Scots schools’
we read some ‘selective’ and some fake figures ‘collated by the Tories’ to desperately construct a wee crisis.
Here are the claims and the rebuttals:
Tory Claim 1: ‘Between 2004 and 2018 the number of teachers fell by almost 4,000.’
Here are the most recent official published statistics:
So, 49 739 teachers and 723 554 pupils in 2004 gives a ratio of 1:14.5. 49 463 teachers and 688 959 pupils in 2017 gives a slightly improved ratio of 1:13.9.
There are 276 fewer teachers but 34 595 fewer pupils for them to teach!
Tory Claim 2: ‘Schools are missing a “lost generation” of teachers who have turned their backs on the profession, it has been claimed. The Scottish Conservatives said teachers between the ages of 43 and 60 were leaving in droves, taking their significant experience with them. But despite increases in most of the other age groups, the 43 to 60-year-old age range had decreased by 12,896 over the same period.’
Here’s how I react to the above and to this below:
‘The number of 20 to 30-year-old teachers have increased by more than 3,000. Teachers aged from 30 to 40 have risen in number by 4,848 since 2004.’
And the problem is?
First, we’re talking about an average of less than 1 000 out of a total teacher population of 50 000 older class teachers leaving, between 43 to 60 years of age, each year.
Second, we’re not told what proportion of this group is in the 55 to 60 age range when many have pension entitlements already approaching the maximum and when many are justifiably tired.
Third, how many 43 to 50-year-olds are leaving? That might be more interesting unless of course the number is too small for the required Tory headline.
Fourth, in my experience, young teachers often learn enough to be more than capable by their mid-twenties and are already in any meaningful sense, ‘experienced.’
Overall, then, this Tory/Scotsman collaboration is pure bunkum.