Teacher recruitment crisis - pilot project proposed in Moray

Moray Council has been invited to participate in a planned pilot scheme to recruit teachers from its local military and wider community. In common with other rural areas in Scotland Moray has struggled to recruit teachers in recent years.

Moray Council has been invited to participate in a planned pilot scheme to recruit teachers from its local military and wider community.

In common with other rural areas in Scotland Moray has struggled to recruit teachers in recent years.

Although there are a number of teachers among the military community in the area – RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks employ some 3,000 service personnel who live in the area with their families – many have qualified outside Scotland. As a result, they do not always have the necessary qualifications and experience to register as a teacher with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) which is the regulatory body for teaching.

Following a recent consultation on its registration rules GTCS has invited Moray to undertake a pilot scheme. Subject to approval of its proposal by GTCS Council members on 09 December, the pilot would allow qualified teachers to be provisionally registeredwhile they undergo ‘top-up’ training to enable full registration.

Chair of Moray Council’s education and young person’s committee, Cllr Anne Skene, said she hoped the pilot will help solve the recruitment crisis.

“This is a great opportunity for us to employ the teachers we know exist within our community,” she said.

“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.”

Potential changes to the existing registration policy for applicants who have qualified outwith Scotland formed a main element of the recent GTCS consultation.Given the military presence in Moray and the number of military spouses/partners who are teachers but who are not currently qualified to teach in Scotland, the GTCS have said it is keen to develop a pilot with Moray Council to test this change, subject to the proposal being given approval by the GTCS Council.

GTCS Chief Executive, Kenneth Muir said:

“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.”

Moray Council will fund the cost of this top-up qualification while the teachers are employed.

Group Captain Mark Chappell, Station Commander at RAF Lossiemouth, said it was a welcome move.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Moray Council have already sought interest from teachers within the MoD communities, and several have been in touch with the authority.

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..

“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,” he said.

“They will undertake an assessment and should progress to provisional (conditional) registration from there.

Notes for editors:

  • Once identified these teachers must be content to provide their contact details to the Moray Council who will in turn pass them onto the GTCS
  • Teachers will be expected to apply through the normal route to GTCS seeking provisional (conditional) registration.
  • Those who express an interest and who secure provisional (conditional) registration will be required to undertake top-up training (largely through distance learning) as required to allow them to meet the requirements for Full Registration. There will be a cost involved in undertaking this top-up training, met by Moray Council.
  • Representatives from the GTCS will come to Moray to meet those who express an interest and to discuss the pilot with them in greater detail
  • If those who are interested wish to proceed at this point, their application will be fast-tracked and hopefully they will be granted provisional registration (with the condition that they complete “top-up” qualifications within a set period of time. Provisional (conditional) registration means that the Council will be able to appoint these teachers to posts as Probationers, and paid as such. Once they have met the condition set, they will be eligible for Full Registration with GTCS.

For more information about GTCS visit www.gtcs.org.uk

Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 92,500 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.

Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.

Headquartered in  Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.

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