Moray Council is poised to turn to the military as it battles to solve its teacher recruitment crisis.
The local authority has been asked to take part in a pilot scheme which would allow people who have qualified outwith Scotland to work in classrooms north of the border.
And the move could pave the way for members of the region’s large armed forces community to help the council plug its teaching gaps.
There are currently about 3,000 service personnel stationed at RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks.
Strict General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) rules mean people who have qualified in other parts of the UK or overseas cannot work in Scotland.
But following a consultation on the issue GTCS Council members are expected to signal their backing next month for a pilot project which would allow qualified teachers to be provisionally registered while they undergo “top-up” training before full registration.
Moray Council has already made contact with teachers in the MoD communities, and about a dozen have expressed an interest in vacant posts in the region.
Figures released in September revealed the local authority had more than 50 teaching vacancies in its primary and secondary schools.
The council’s education and young person’s committee chairwoman, Anne Skene, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to employ the teachers we know exist within our community.
“We already have a very close working relationship with our military communities, and I can only see this as strengthening that bond.”
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 better support to local authorities like Moray.”
Moray Council will fund the cost of the top-up qualifications while the teachers are employed.
RAF Lossiemouth’s station commander, Group Captain Mark Chappell, said: “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.
“The proposal is of dual benefit – reducing the impact a rather nomadic military lifestyle can have 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.”
The local authority’s director of education and social care, Laurence Findlay, said he expected a number of teachers to be ready for registration once the GTCS Council has approved the changes needed.
He said: “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.
“Those interested will undertake an assessment and should progress to provisional, conditional registration from there.”