Council looks abroad to solve teacher recruitment crisis

A Scottish council has taken its recruitment campaign overseas in a bid to address a shortage of about 40 primary and secondary teachers.

Last week, TESS reported that Scottish councils were looking to attract disaffected teachers from England to fill posts ahead of the new school year. One - Aberdeen City - was offering incentives of up to #163;5,000 to teachers prepared to work in the area.

Aberdeenshire Council, however, has cast its net wider and earlier this month, over a period of three days, more than 30 Irish and Canadian probationer teachers were interviewed in their own countries for posts in the authority.

Ireland and Canada both have high levels of surplus probationer and first-year teachers. The Aberdeenshire campaign aims to attract high-quality teachers who need an opportunity to secure their first teaching post. It is hoped that the campaign - being run alongside more traditional recruitment methods - will provide a short-term solution to the authority's recruitment difficulties.

The scheme costs between #163;4,000 and #163;5,000 per teacher recruited; the package that successful applicants receive includes a full induction and conversion to Scottish education standards, a temporary work visa, accommodation and travel costs.

An interview panel of three travelled first to Dublin and then on to Toronto to undertake the interviews, with successful candidates expected to travel to Scotland later in August to take up their positions in schools across Aberdeenshire ready to start work early in the new school term.

Recent studies undertaken in Ontario, Canada, reveal the extent of the teacher surplus in the country, with almost one in three newly qualified teachers failing to find jobs. In Ireland, some 600 graduate teachers fail to secure a teaching position each year.

Isobel Davidson, chair of the council's education, learning and leisure committee, said: "We are confident that this innovative approach will stimulate significant interest and help relieve the current pressures on our teaching staff."

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