Teacher recruitment on the agenda

Fraserburgh Academy.
Fraserburgh Academy.

Councillors on the education, leisure and learning committee were last week given a report by the directors of the EL&L corporate services team at Aberdeenshire Council concerning teacher recruitment in the area.

The report asked councillors to acknowledge the impact of the continued drive to maintain secure teaching staffing position and for councillors to accept a further report in September, 2013, regarding teacher staffing issues as they impact on Aberdeenshire.

The report says: “As part of the Education, Learning and Leisure Service bid for end year flexibility funding, £740k was identified to employ additional fixed term supply staff to individual secondary schools and to primary school clusters. To date, 16 additional fixed term supply staff have been appointed.

“In March 2012, a report to Education, Learning and Leisure Committee outlined proposals for the revision of the secondary staffing formula. A representative group of secondary headteachers, depute headteachers and guidance staff, trade unions and officers has been established to review the secondary school staff formula to ensure it is fit for purpose to support the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence,” the report.

Further measures being undertaken to ease the teaching recruitment difficulties include an intended article in an education supplemental and the education, learning and leisure service working together with housing services to secure housing, where available, for successful applicants for posts.

Fraserburgh and district councillor Charles Buchan, who sits on the education, learning and leisure committee said: “Firstly I would like to thank the officers for their efforts in filling vacancies. I’m sure I’m also speaking for the staff of these schools. Let us hope that these initiatives bring in a good harvest of committed teachers of high ability.

“So far, in our last two meetings we have spent far too much time listening to almost medieval arguments on the senior phase, instead of addressing the very real concerns of hundreds of parents in the big North Academies who are worrying about their children not getting a teacher qualified in the subject.

“There is a great variance in the number of vacancies between North Aberdeenshire Academies, and our other schools.

“As a snapshot of the current position, in the jobs web-site yesterday [Wednesday, February 6], only three academies had more than three vacancies: these were the three large Northern Academies, with vacancies of 10, 6 and 6.

“As we stand, one of these schools is attempting to provide education suitable for the 21st century, with 10 front-line staff short.

“I do hope that the proposed measures will have some effect in the short term, for at present, we are not doing so well for these schools.

“In the meantime, I would like to request that detailed figures are supplied on the staffing of all our Academies, subject by subject, stating whether or not the teacher is a probationer, or properly qualified in the subject, and that be done in time for the next meeting of this committee.”