MSPs have been told a national strategy for recruitment is needed to support councils in filling teaching vacancies in the north of Scotland.
Moray Council’s director of education and social care Laurence Findlay made the plea to Holyrood’s education committee, which is investigating teacher workforce planning.
Mr Findlay insisted the Scottish Government should help areas struggling to attract new personnel and ensure competition for staff between councils was minimised.
He said: “I think a national approach with some regional flexibility would help hugely.
“Without this, you could end up with councils pitted against one another – for example, Moray could offer £8,000 to new teachers, but then Aberdeenshire could start offering £9,000.
“You would just get into silly games.”
Mr Findlay revealed successful recruitment techniques had included offering rent-free accommodation.
He said: “We have offered six-month rent-free accommodation in the past. That was successful and we did succeed in attracting a number of teachers to come and work in Moray.
“It was a one-year short-term fix and we’re continuing to look at similar programmes which we might be able to extend in future.”
After questions from north-east MSP Ross Thomson, Mr Findlay revealed that quicker conversion of qualifications for non-Scottish teachers had allowed him to fill about 15 vacancies, mainly with military spouses.
He added his letter-writing campaign, asking parents to ask friends whether they might be interested in becoming a teacher helped recruit nearly 20 more.
He said: “I wrote to all parents in Moray in January – we have about 12,000 schoolchildren, so it was a lot of letters.
“From that, I had 165 responses and from that about 20 new teachers.
“I think being proactive and writing to people really worked.”
However, Mr Findlay argued the north of Scotland needed to be better promoted as an excellent place to live and work.
He said: “The marketing around this is a huge issue.
“All councils across the north work really hard to capitalise on their attractiveness, but it remains an issue.”