A new formula 
for school staffing?

A new school staffing formula, which could mean new permanent teaching posts, is to be considered by councillors.

A working group made up of secondary head teachers, depute teachers and the Joint Trade Union Secretary has been working on revising the staffing formula since March 2012, to support the implementation of the Curriculum of Excellence.

The revised formula will go before members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Policy and Resources Committee today (Thursday).

If approved, the new formula would mean the creation of 17 new permanent teaching posts in Aberdeenshire. Based on school roll figures, this will range from an increase of 0.75fte to 1.30fte for each secondary school.

The revised staffing allocation is designed to allow schools to regularise temporary staffing arrangements and employ staff permanently, which in turn will aid the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence and provide pupils with greater opportunities for personalisation and choice in their senior school years.

A report to councillors by Head of Policy and Resources, Wilfred Weir, details how the expenditure of £667,000 has been identified to support the new formula.

Fraserburgh Councillor Charles Buchan, who is a member of the Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, commented: “This is a bit of a disaster, it’s not what we were expecting.

“They’ve decided to put one extra teacher into each school. I feel it’s not very equitable, there’s no connection with need.

“Schools which are already well-staffed are getting an extra teacher, as are more poorly-staffed schools.

“Last year, the Council saved £1.8million by not filling vaccancies.

“The authority is going to take £400,000 out of the Education budget and £260,000 will come from reducing the number of promoted posts.”

Earlier this year, concerns were raised about staffing shortages at Fraserburgh Academy.

Aberdeenshire Council then implemented a range of measures to tackle the shortages, including a major recruitment campaign. The Education, Learning and Leisure service examined ways to attract more teaching staff to the area such as offering permanent posts where available. The service also looked to provide support for prospective teachers looking for housing.

We’d like to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the proposals? If adopted, would the new formula go far enough? Let us know via Twitter or our Facebook page.