Henry Hepburn

Schools fighting fires in the oil capital of Europe

Aberdeen has been hardest hit by the nationwide teacher recruitment problems because of its disproportionately high cost of living. As a result, this year, schools in the city found themselves facing a crisis, discovers Henry Hepburn

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It’s the doomsday scenario for teachers: having no choice but to send pupils home. Yet a few months ago, that prospect was painfully close to reality in Aberdeen.

About four years ago, the city was hit by a perfect storm: the pupil roll was soaring, baby-boomer teachers were retiring en masse and new teachers were being driven away by a buoyant oil and gas industry that put living costs in Aberdeen beyond the means of young graduates.

There were about 100 teaching vacancies, and the city tried myriad ideas to try to plug the gap. Golden hellos were promised, a recruitment campaign targeted ...

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