Aberdeenshire teacher recruitment drive update

Do you have a teaching qualification? Perhaps you trained abroad or have never used your qualification? Answered yes? Aberdeenshire wants to hear from you!

Aberdeenshire Council’s teacher recruitment drive continues as councillors on the Education & Children’s Services Committee receive an update this week on measures being taken to address teacher recruitment challenges in the area.

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.

Information sessions for registered teachers, including those who have previously taught elsewhere in the UK or abroad, took place last month and were attended by over 40 people.

Council officers are now liaising with them to try and create bespoke packages enabling them to return to the classroom in Aberdeenshire.

Teachers who may not have taught for some time, may never have taught in Scotland or perhaps have never used their teaching qualification are being encouraged to come forward and can contact the council by emailing intoteaching@aberdeenshire.gov.uk or calling (01467) 536 158.

Teacher recruitment was identified as an ongoing 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.

Just last week councillors 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.

The Distance Learning Initial Teaching Education (DLITE) was introduced in 2014 as a flexible-learning programme in partnership with the University of Aberdeen during which participants are funded to study part-time for a post-graduate qualification in teaching.

Since then, 37 students have achieved that qualification and gone into their probationary year in Aberdeenshire schools. The latest cohort of 14 students began the programme last month and will graduate in June 2018.

The council also continues to work closely with current probationers to encourage them to remain in Aberdeenshire and teach in its schools.

In 2016, thanks to positive engagement, Education & Children’s Services had a 71% retention rate for primary probationary teachers and 73% retention rate for secondary probationer teachers going into their first full registered year as a teacher.

Aberdeenshire, in partnership with the University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen City Council, is also leading the way in encouraging former workers from the oil and gas sector to take up teaching posts in STEM subjects.

Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government, 11 students, who have a commitment to a four-year teaching contract in Aberdeenshire once qualified, are currently studying post-graduate teaching qualifications at the university while gaining teaching experience in Aberdeenshire schools.