Schools chief outlines Moray’s recruitment issues are nationwide

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Laurence Findlay – national recruitment issues

TEACHER RECRUITMENT DIFFICULTIES are a national issue and not only a Moray one – although the difficulties in Moray remain critical.

That is the view in a report being put to members of the Children and Young People’s Services Committee at Moray Council on Wednesday.

In a school staffing update prepared for the committee by Laurence Findlay, the corporate director for education and social care, the stark realities facing Moray and the entire country on teacher recruitment and possibly outcomes of failure in that area are laid out.

Mr Findlay points out that Moray’s recruitment difficulties were laid out in detail back in February in a meeting between the Cabinet Secretary for Education and the then chair of the Children and Young People’s Services Committee. Before and since then a number of recruitment campaigns have been undertaken through social media and the press.

In his report to Councillors, Mr Findlay says: “A worrying trend recently has been the growing crisis in relation to primary Head Teacher recruitment. At present in Moray there are six acting primary Head Teachers and three primary Head Teacher posts currently or about to be advertised.

“This has significant implications for continuity of service and also for our ability to provide a high quality of education to all young people. It has implications on other areas of the service as we have had to redeploy central staff to cover Head Teacher vacancies in schools which has resulted in other schools not receiving the support they may require.”

Pointing out the difficulties are being faced throughout the country, Mr Findlay continued: “This is not solely a Moray issue, but is Scotland wide and work is being undertaken nationally to look into the reasons for this.

“As part of the Scottish Government’s review of Education Governance, a Head Teacher Charter is currently being developed nationally which will outline the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of Head Teachers in future. This will be reported to Committee once completed and agreed at a national level.”

Mr Findlay also looking at the reasons why Moray is facing the current recruitment situation, saying: “Many reasons have been provided for the current situation with regards teacher and primary Head Teacher shortages.

“Some indicate this has been as a result of inaccurate workforce planning, others strongly maintain that reductions in salaries in real terms over a number of years, teacher workload, excessive bureaucracy, seemingly never-ending curriculum developments and changes and (in relation to Head Teacher vacancies) a perception that the job is simply too big and too difficult and very small salary differentials (especially in the primary sector) between the posts of Depute Head Teacher and Head Teacher.

“Teacher recruitment is a national challenge, not only a Moray one and a national Freedom of Information (FOI) request at the start of this school year indicated that there were around 600 vacancies nationally. At that point in time over 40 of these were in Moray.”