New SNP MP Anum Qaisar-Javed taught at private school after vowing to fight inequality

AN SNP MP who vowed to tackle inequality after being elected last month has been earning a second wage at one of Scotland’s top private schools.

Anum Qaisar-Javed continued teaching at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh after becoming the £82,000-a-year MP for Airdrie & Shotts.

In an election leaflet endorsing her, Nicola Sturgeon said Ms Qaisar-Javed was “determined to create a fairer and more socially just Scotland”.

George Watson’s charges up to £10,530 a year for primary pupils and £13,551 for seniors.

One local SNP member said the new MP was a “total phoney” and hypocritical.

Ms Qaisar-Javed, 28, was elected in the North Lanarkshire seat on May 13 in a byelection triggered by the seat’s previous SNP MP, Neil Gray, switching to Holyrood.

In her election campaign, she frequently referred to herself as a “high school teacher” of modern studies, but did not identify the school.

“As a high school teacher, it’s been great to talk about education,” she tweeted on May 11 after campaigning alongside then education secretary John Swinney.

However she has now disclosed the school in her first register of parliamentary interests.

Under employment and earnings, she wrote: “25 May 2021, received from George Watson’s College, 69 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH10 5EG, £10,141 for work carried out as a teacher, and holiday pay. Hours: one day (approx. 7 hours) since my election.” 

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After she was elected, Ms Qaisar-Javed railed against inequalities in society.

She said: “The Covid pandemic has exposed the deep inequalities that exist in our society and my priority will be working to ensure that my constituents have the support they need to get through this crisis.”

She added that once the Covid crisis was over she would be “campaigning for Scotland to become an independent country, so we can make the changes needed to secure a strong, fair and equal recovery”.

Before teaching at George Watson’s, Ms Qaisar-Javed was a “probationary teacher of social subjects” at the top-rated state-run Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh, but left at the end of the 2019/20 academic year, according to the school’s website.


Ms Qaisar-Javed referred to some of her pupils from this time at a Commons committee.

When Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings appeared before MPs last month, she said: “Prior to my election, I was a secondary school teacher. My 13-year-old weans understood the concept of closing the borders or stopping people from entering or leaving the country. If 13-year-old kids from Edinburgh could understand that, is it fair to say that they were thinking more critically than the Government?”

Mr Cummings replied: “Correct.” 

The Herald asked Ms Qaisar-Javed and the SNP press office how long she had taught at Watson’s and whether she would do so again as an MP.

Despite repeated requests for answers, the party did not respond with a comment.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992