Moves to tackle Aberdeenshire’s teacher recruitment problem

Aberdeenshire currently has 43 vacancies for teachers across the region.
Aberdeenshire currently has 43 vacancies for teachers across the region.

A recruitment drive to address the shortfall of teachers in Aberdeenshire is continuing, the area’s councillors have heard.

At the start of February 2017 there were 25 primary school vacancies and 18 secondary school vacancies, with the situation most acute in north Aberdeenshire.

At their meeting this week, members of the education and children’s services committee will be updated on the local authority’s attempts to deal with recruitment challenges.

These include recent information sessions for registered teachers, which were attended by more than 40 people and the council is trying to create bespoke packages to enable them to return to the classroom.

A council spokeswoman said: “Teacher recruitment was identified as an continuing challenge in Aberdeenshire a number of years ago and since then the council has been pushing on with a range of measures to reduce vacancy numbers.

“The Labour/SNP-led administration has now allocated an additional £350,000 within the council’s budget for 2017/18 for the recruitment drive and this money will be targeted at both potential teachers and early years practitioners.”

A partnership programme with Aberdeen University offering part-time study for a post-graduate qualification in teaching has also has also be successful. Since 2014, 37 students have achieved that qualification and gone into their probationary year in local schools. The latest cohort of 14 students began the programme last month and will graduate in June 2018.

The council is also work closely with probationers to encourage them to remain in Aberdeenshire, and last year had a 71 per cent retention rate for primary probationary teachers and 73 per cent retention rate for secondary probationer teachers.

In addition, Scottish Government funding has allowed 11 students, who have a commitment to a four-year teaching contract in Aberdeenshire, are currently studying post-graduate teaching qualifications at the university while gaining teaching experience.

Teachers who have taught for some time, may never have taught in Scotland or have never used their qualification are encouraged to contact the council by e-mailing or calling (01467) 536158.