AN OPPORTUNITY TO raise Moray’s teacher shortage issues with the recently appointed Education Secretary has been secured by Moray’s SNP MSP.
Richard Lochhead will raise the issue with John Swinney at Holyrood on Wednesday (June 15) when the first Education and Skills question time is held at the Scottish Parliament.
Moray has suffered from an inability to attract teachers to the region and, while a variety of special measures have proven partially successful, concern remains that not enough professional teaching staff are being lured north.
Mr Lochhead said: “For some time now, Moray has faced serious challenges in recruiting teachers to work in our local schools.
“This is an issue I have engaged with the Council and the Scottish Government on in the past, and while welcome steps have been taken, such as additional teacher training places being funded at Moray College and extra newly qualified teachers being allocated to Moray, I’m keen to establish what further action the Education Minister is taking to help encourage people to take up teaching posts in our schools.
“I’m looking forward to having the chance to raise this key local issue directly with John Swinney in the Scottish Parliament next week and I very much hope he will provide a positive response with details of steps being taken to improve the situation locally.”
The issue is also one of major concern for Conservative MSP Douglas Ross, who as a serving Moray Councillor has been closely involved in the efforts to attract new staff to the region.
Last night Mr Ross told insideMoray: “I welcome the fact that Richard has secured the opportunity to raise this very important matter with the Deputy First Minister in the coming week.
“This is an issue of great concern throughout Moray in recent years, exacerbated by the uncertainty posed by the threat of school closures, something which saw a number of teachers leave the area and some parents move children to other schools.
“It is vital that the Scottish Government works hand in hand with the Moray Council and in a timely manner to ensure the best levels of education continue to be made available to pupils throughout the area – and I welcome the fact that a number of new teaching staff have already been encouraged to move to the area.”