Masterplan unveiled to tackle teacher recruitment crisis

Unemployed Irish teachers to be targeted - particularly those trained in science, technology, engineering and maths

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The Scottish government has unveiled a master plan to tackle the teacher recruitment crisis plaguing schools north of the border, including targeting unemployed Irish teachers.

The £1 million investment into 11 new routes into teaching includes plans to fast-track teachers into the profession in just one year by merging the one year postgraduate teacher education course, The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), with the probation year.

These proposals, announced today, were first revealed in a TESS exclusive earlier this year.

Other plans to boost teacher numbers include training teachers to work in both primary and secondary and extending targeted support for teachers looking to return to the profession, irrespective of whether or not they were trained in Scotland.

Meanwhile, the University of Aberdeen’s programme which allows council staff to train as primary teachers whilst holding down their day jobs is also set to be extended to all local authorities.

The news comes just ten days after the launch of the charity Now Teach, in England, which aims to encourage professionals nearing the end of their careers into teaching.

The plans, which ministers hope will bring more than 200 new teachers into the profession, have been put forward by the Scottish Council of Deans of Education.

The education secretary John Swinney wrote to schools of education in July asking them to come up with a range of new routes into the profession in order to tackle shortages in certain subjects, such as science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

However, Scotland’s largest teaching union, the EIS, has expressed concern about the plans to train teachers in just one year. Speaking to TESS in July, assistant secretary Drew Morrice said that teachers would end up missing out either on pedagogical experiences at university or practical experience in school.

However, revealing the plans on a visit to the University of Dundee today, Mr Swinney said: “We will not change the standard we expect new recruits to attain before they become fully-fledged teachers, but we are determined to broaden the routes into the classroom and speed up the process.”

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