More than 20 newly trained teachers have been hired to ease classroom shortages across Moray next term, following a shake-up of the recruitment process.
The announcement that 22 teachers will fill vacant posts in classrooms in the area follows warnings that children could be sent home because there would be no-one available to carry out lessons.
Many of those preparing to boost the staff rolls are from Moray, and have chosen to return home to begin their careers.
Among them are former Forres Academy pupil, Alex Charles-McKeating, who lives in Kinloss and is preparing to start at Anderson’s Primary School in Forres.
One of his ambitions is to teach the P3/4 class the ukulele next term.
Jenna Ogg, from Aberlour, will divide her time between Milne’s High School in Fochabers and Lossiemouth High School as a business studies teacher next term, after graduating from Aberdeen University.
Mark Hopkirk, from Hopeman, made the career change from building eco-homes to teaching at Elgin’s East End Primary School after gaining an education degree from Moray College last year.
He said: “Part of my thinking was that the area is in need of new teachers, but I also love working with children.”
The council’s acting director of education and social care, Graham Jarvis, said changing the recruitment process for newly-qualified teachers had made a “huge difference”.
Previously, local schools were losing out to new staff due to a lengthy interview process, where schools were competing with each other for new recruits.
The time-consuming process meant that many applicants ended up accepting posts in other parts of the country while awaiting a response from Moray Council.
This year, aspiring teachers only had to attend one interview and were deployed to vacancies across the area within weeks.
However, education chiefs have warned that there remain several vacancies ahead of the new term – with headteacher posts proving especially difficult to fill.
Council leader, George Alexander, last night said it was important to maintain high standards regardless of how troubling staffing levels may become.
The former Forres Academy maths teacher said: “These results are satisfying, and long may they continue under the new interview process.
“But we have to be careful that we don’t lower standards just because we are desperate to fill posts.”