THE UNIQUE POSITION of Moray with its higher than average military population has led to the region being invited to take part in a scheme aimed at easing the teacher recruitment crisis.
One of the main bars to teacher recruitment in Scotland has been the requirement for prospective new teaching staff who did not gain their qualification in Scotland to undergo further training.
That requirement will soon be at an end for Moray as the region has been invited to participate in a pilot scheme that would allow recruitment of teachers from among the 3000 service families living in the area – regardless of where they were trained.
The pilot scheme follows consultation with the GTCS on its rules, and will mean that subject to approval of the proposal by GTCS Council members next month, qualified teachers will be provisionally registered while they undergo the ‘top-up’ training that will enable their full registration in Scotland.
Welcoming the move last night was Moray Council’s chair of the education and young person’s committee, Councillor Anne Skene, who said: “This is a great opportunity for us to employ the teachers we know exist within our community.
“I commend the GTCS for this initiative – we already have a very close working relationship with our military communities, and I can only see this as strengthening that bond.”
As well as allowing the local authority to recruit from military families it opens up their recruitment drive to take in teachers who have qualified in any part of the United Kingdom. The GTCS said that it was keen to develop the pilot scheme with Moray because of its unique position in Scotland.
Chief Executive Kenneth Muir commented: “We register over 350 teachers a year from England and many more from countries around the world but only if those teachers meet our registration standards.
“We accept that we could offer more flexibility in how we register teachers and this is why we undertook the recent consultation. There are a number of proposals we will put to our Council meeting in December for members’ approval which we think can offer more flexibility and better support local authorities like Moray.
“We are pleased to have such a constructive working relationship with Moray Council and look forward to building upon this in the months ahead.”
The Station Commander at RAF Lossiemouth, Group Captain Mark Chappell, was also delighted with a move that could see new opportunities for both RAF and Army family members.
He said: “There are a significant number of military spouses and partners who are teachers – this scheme would allow them to continue with their careers whilst their partners are stationed at RAF Lossiemouth.
“The proposal is of dual benefit; reducing the impact a rather nomadic military lifestyle on civilian teachers’ careers and helping reduce the shortfall in qualified teachers in the area. Our community support staff will work with Moray Council to encourage and support any members of our service families who wish to participate in the scheme.”
Director of Education and Social Care, Laurence Findlay, said he expects a good number to be ready for registration once the GTCS Council have approved the changes needed.
He said: “We have had lengthy discussions with the GTCS about the recruitment crisis facing some rural councils and we are working closely with GTCS on early preparatory work to identify the teachers who would be interested in the pilot should it be given approval by GTCS’ Council.
“This may well help resolve our problem and could provide a basis for further changes that assist other areas. There are likely to be about 12 who have told us they’re interested in committing to the pilot.
“They will undertake an assessment and should progress to provisional (conditional) registration from there.”