Teacher quits England to take job on remote Scottish island after social media appeal

The Isle of Muck has a population of 40, no shop and is regularly cut off from the mainland in the winter – but teacher from Hampshire says it will just be 'challenging in a different way'

Emma Seith

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The top four “most read” articles on the TES website are about teacher stress. These articles range from union leader Mary Bousted talking about teachers crying on the kitchen floor, to an academic ranking the profession as one of the top three most stressful occupations.

Clearly writing on this topic resonates with teachers in England – so the news that one is to up sticks and move to a tiny, remote Scottish island is not entirely surprising.

Laura Marriner is moving more than 700 miles to take a job on Muck, in the Inner Hebrides, an island with a population of around 40. She will be the sole teacher in Muck Primary School, which has just eight pupils.

The school's headteacher, Andy Murray, is based at a primary on the neighbouring island of Eigg and works between the two schools. 

The search for a teacher for Muck Primary began in May when the previous incumbent, Julie Baker, had to leave for family reasons. The Highland Council, which like other Scottish councils has been plagued by recruitment problems, struggled to fill the post, with six candidates dropping out when faced with the reality of life on a remote island.

'Bring good waterproofs'

A Facebook campaign, however, was then relaunched by the parent council. It told prospective candidates that Muck was “bleak occasionally in the winter, but also amazingly beautiful in the summer” and that they would need “enthusiasm, patience, understanding” and “good waterproofs” if they wanted to teach on the island.

The campaign did the trick and almost 60 candidates applied; Ms Marriner was one of them.

Ms Marriner, who currently works in Hampshire, is expected to begin early next month and will be moving with her husband, Dean, and sons Charlie, 5, and Atticus, 20 months. Charlie will join P1 (Reception) at the school.

The teacher said she was aware that life would be difficult on an island that has no shop, a GP who visits fortnightly and is regularly cut off from the mainland during the winter. But she added that it would just be “challenging in a different way”.

“There will be a low point and it will be when both boys are being difficult, when the weather is horrible and the boats are cancelled and we’re stuck on the island," she said.

“We’ll just have to work through that and it will be fine. It’s about accepting that life can be difficult wherever you are. It’ll just be challenging in a different way.”

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for TES Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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