Aberdeenshire's newest teachers ready to go back to school

There will be a few new faces in classrooms across Aberdeenshire when the new session begins next week as the latest group of probationer teachers officially begin their new roles. 

Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Cllr Jim Gifford, Director of Education and Children’s Services Laurence Findlay and the council’s Heads of Education Vincent Docherty and Andrew Griffiths all formally welcomed more than 100 probationers at an event marking the beginning of the new teachers’ first year at Meldrum Academy today (Fri, Aug 17).

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “Teaching is a hugely rewarding career and I hope the latest group of teachers entering the profession for their probation period thoroughly enjoy their first year.

“I am proud that in Aberdeenshire our probation programme is nationally recognised as one of the best in Scotland. This is because of its innovative approach and the support given to the probationers. I would like to wish all the probationers the best of luck.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Mark Findlater said: “The probationers embarking on a teaching career this coming session will receive invaluable support and advice for the mentors. There are social events as well for those who have relocated to Aberdeenshire from other areas of Scotland to make them feel at home.”

The council’s teacher probation programme was inspired and developed from observations officers made of a similar ground-breaking initiative in Santa Cruz in California. The evaluation and learning was put into the probationer programme run by Aberdeenshire, leading to widespread national recognition and acclaim.

Probationer teachers can choose to work in schools from across Scotland and when a probationer comes to Aberdeenshire from other regions they are made welcome at social events arranged by their mentors. The mentors organise friendly and informal coaching sessions where the probationers learn and share new skills. The mentors are on hand to provide support if the probationers have concerns or are seeking advice.

Last year there were 153 probationers in schools across Aberdeenshire this school session: 105 at primary schools and 48 at secondary. A graduation event will be held in the summer to congratulate the probationers on the completion of their first year as teachers.