Fast-track teacher scheme to tackle recruitment issue in the north

John Swinney

A new £250,000 scheme will be unveiled today to help tackle the chronic teacher recruitment problems at rural schools in the north and north-east.

Under the plans, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and Dundee University will work to support between 30 and 50 students in qualifying for a Masters-level diploma in teaching.

The fast-track scheme will benefit schools in Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, the Borders and the Highlands.

The course, which will run from December to June 2020, will be open to graduates with a 2:1 honours degree in chemistry, physics, home economics, maths and engineering.

The university partnership was chosen as the successful bidder in a procurement exercise by the Scottish Government.

John Swinney, the deputy first minister and education secretary, will confirm the move on a visit to Dundee today.

He said: “Teachers are the foundation of Scotland’s education system and are crucial to our aspiration of closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

“We know that some areas face challenges in recruiting teachers in certain subject areas and this means that we need to think differently about how we attract new recruits into the classroom.

“This innovative proposal is designed to broaden the range of people entering the profession – providing a challenging, yet extremely rewarding, opportunity to train in rural schools within areas of high deprivation.

“Crucially, this route maintains the traditionally high standard of teaching in Scotland and I am pleased to support it with a quarter of million pounds from the Attainment Scotland Fund.”

Schools across the north and north-east have struggled to recruit enough teachers in recent years, with recent figures showing nearly 900 teaching posts in the area have had to be re-advertised since 2014.

Dundee University’s Professor Teresa R Moran, depute dean, said: “The universities of Dundee and the Highlands and Islands are delighted to be working together to provide this new route into initial teacher education for Stem subjects.

“Working in partnership with several rural local authorities, we are looking to recruit high-calibre candidates to enhance leaners’ experiences in a number of Stem subjects.”