A DUNFERMLINE teacher who doesn't have a job to go back to in August says she has been left "used and discarded" after completing her probation year.

Lisajane Ellis is one of many newly-qualified teachers across Fife who have spoken out after finding themselves unemployed despite being under the impression that she would be "welcomed eagerly" into the role.

She left her career to retrain as a teacher but has found there aren't enough posts available for those who have completed their probation.

She has been backed by Willie Rennie MSP who, as reported previously in the Press, has launched a petition. That has the support now of 1,400 residents and teachers.

It calls on Scottish ministers and Fife Council to uphold their election promises and find a solution for the thousands of trained teachers that now face an uncertain future.

Ms Ellis said: "I left a successful career to retrain as a teacher and spent two years studying at Moray House for my Masters, with distinction.

"I was assured a Masters would be highly-prized as the profession was heading in that direction and Scotland was looking to Finland where their education system is admired and teachers are particularly highly-qualified.

"Before beginning this new career, I was under the impression there was a shortage of teachers in Scotland and that people like me, successful in other areas of professional life, older with a varied life experience, would be welcomed eagerly.

"Being a little longer in the tooth, and with experience of competitive employment markets, I did not assume I'd be handed a job on a plate but I did expect a meritocracy and the possibility of secure employment.

"It is quite clear that in Fife, and in many other local authorities, there simply are not enough posts available.

"Moreover, the number of schools offering new graduates a probationary post is way too high. Some primary schools have two or even three probationers.

"After a successful probation year, most find themselves used and discarded."

Mr Rennie also lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament and wrote to the education secretary, Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville, but he says the SNP Government has refused to lift a finger to help.

He said: "It is shocking the way that Lisajane and many teachers across Fife are being cast aside by Fife Council and the SNP Government. Many have had their lives turned upside down and I would not be surprised if some are forced out of the teaching profession altogether.

"This was a wholly avoidable situation that was caused by the incompetence and poor planning of SNP authorities.

"What matters now is finding a solution by opening up the number of teaching posts that are available and stopping this needless heartache and waste."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “While local authorities are responsible for the recruitment and deployment of their staff, we are working closely with COSLA regarding the employment of teachers for the next academic year and will continue to do everything we can to maximise the number of jobs available, including permanent posts.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have committed over £200 million of funding to support the recruitment of additional teachers and support staff to aide education recovery.

"As part of our commitment to supporting the recruitment of 3,500 additional teachers and classroom assistants, funding will be provided to local authorities to increase teacher numbers by 1,000 and classroom assistants by 500 within the first 100 days of this parliamentary term.”