Moray’s unique plan to offer free accommodation to prospective new teachers is being met with widespread approval from within the local authority and the teaching industry at large.
Earlier this week Moray Council revealed that they had entered into a generous agreement with Springfield Properties that would see free housing for six months being offered to new teachers prepared to move to the area.
The sponsorship deal agreed with Springfield is thought to be the first of its kind in Scotland and is expected to go some way to alleviating the recruitment shortages being faced in Moray.
Speaking on behalf of the teaching union the EIS, Drew Morrice said: “The fullness of time will tell if it is to be successful but it is certainly to be welcomed as a means of attracting people to an area.
“A number of councils currently offer a number of financial incentives to go – this seems to be an incentive in terms of housing which is one of the obstacles people meet when they go to a different area.”
The move is also being welcomed by opposition councillors with Mike Shand, the SNP spokesman on education, saying: “The SNP has raised a variety of concerns on issues that make it challenging to recruit teachers in Moray and thankfully the Council is starting to move to address those issues.
“Support from Springfield in helping to encourage teachers to re-locate to work in Moray is a great in selling Moray as a place to live and work for teachers.
“I know that local SNP MSP Richard Lochhead spoke with Springfield after meeting Councillors and Council Officers to discuss the issue and this creative and very positive response from Springfield to help address the problem is great news.”
Reassurance for any teachers thinking of moving to Moray also came from Katie Morton, a teacher at Elgin Academy who moved to the area three years ago: “I’ve been learning to ski and snowboard which are two things I thought I would never be able to do – and the pupils in the area are fantastic.
“They come from a variety of backgrounds, when I first came up here I was quite stereotypical and thought that they would all come from small villages.
“But they don’t, they come from various expansive areas with lots of things going on, there is always plenty to do and they are really enthusiastic.”
Springfield will supply ten two-bedroom homes free of charge for six months to new teachers coming to Moray. Five will be in Elgin, four in Forres and one in Buckie.