THE number of new primary teachers securing permanent jobs in East Renfrewshire after completing their probation period has declined for four years in a row, latest figures reveal.

According to Scottish Government data, only 14 of the 64 post-probation primary teachers in the local authority went into permanent, full-time positions in state schools last year.

As well as continuing a decline that has been taking place since 2016/17, it marks the first year that more primary teachers in East Renfrewshire have taken temporary jobs rather than permanent roles.

The figures also reveal a general downward trend over the past four years in the percentage of secondary teachers securing permanent positions in East Renfrewshire, although there was a slight rise in 2018/19, before dipping again in 2019/20.

Across Scotland, it was also the first time on record that more teachers have taken temporary jobs rather than permanent ones.

In response to the data, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie said more should be done to offer permanent contracts to teachers.

He added: “These figures show that the plummeting number of full-time jobs available for new teachers is part of a far deeper problem with Scottish Government policy, rather than short-term issues created by Covid.

“This casualisation of the teaching workforce must end. We need to stop the temporary funding that leads to temporary jobs.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said councils are responsible for the recruitment of teachers but action has been taken to support their efforts to fill permanent posts.

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesperson added: “The number of teachers we employ always meets the requirements of the pupil/teacher ratios which must be adhered to, which is determined by the number of pupils in each school.

“We are committed to providing as many permanent teaching roles as possible and, as any positions become available, these are open for applications from all suitably-qualified teachers, including probationers.

“Unless additional teaching roles are created, through additional funding being provided, teaching posts only become available if they become vacant. Appointment to any role is then based on the suitability of the candidate for the position.”