A GENERATION of teachers could be lost to other professions if jobs within Fife schools cannot be found, an MSP has claimed.

Willie Rennie has presented a petition with more than 1,400 signatures to the Scottish Government calling for an end to teacher unemployment.

The former Dunfermline MP, and current North East Fife MSP, says he has worked with hundreds of affected teachers who were told earlier this year they didn't have a job after completing their teacher training and probation period with Fife Council.

Even though many new teachers were not offered a job formally, there was an expectation following the interview process in March that positions would be secured for the autumn.

Some teachers received notice on the final day of term that there was no job for them in the autumn.

Having raised the issue in Parliament, Mr Rennie is now delivering a petition of more than 1,400 signatures to the Scottish Government's education secretary and Dunfermline MSP, Shirley Anne-Somerville.

Mr Rennie said: “The way teachers across Scotland have been treated is shoddy.

“For years, people across Scotland have been encouraged to become teachers to help raise the next generation.

“To interview them in the March and to not offer them jobs for the August, it’s no wonder many feel used and discarded.

“To leave so many teachers unemployed after their probation year will mean that we lose a generation of educators to other professions which we simply can’t afford.

“This petition of over 1,400 Fifers calling on the Scottish Government to find these teachers jobs shows the overwhelming recognition of how important these teachers are to our children’s futures.”

Shirley-Anne Somerville's office, however, stated that the matter should be brought to Fife Council's door instead as the Scottish Government could not "dictate to Fife Council what its employment practices are".

A spokesperson stated: "Willie Rennie should understand that the Scottish Government cannot dictate to Fife Council what its employment practices are – and if he genuinely wants to help teachers in the area then he should be taking up the matter with the council.

"If he has not then he is playing politics with this rather than genuinely trying to find a solution for teachers who are still looking for permanent employment.

“Earlier this month (August), the Scottish Government announced that temporary COVID recovery funding of £80 million that helped recruit 1,400 teachers and 250 support staff would be made permanent.

“This is in addition to the £65.5 million permanent additional funding announced on August 9 for local authorities to recruit a further additional 1,000 teachers and 500 support staff. It will also be allocated annually from 2022 onwards.”

In recent months, the Press has highlighted a number of teachers looking for jobs after completing their probation year.

A Dunfermline teacher who didn't have a job to go back to last month said she had been left "used and discarded".

Lisajane Ellis was one of many newly-qualified teachers across Fife to 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 found there weren't enough posts available for those who had completed their probation.