ABERDEEN City councillors are being urged to back radical plans to spend up to £260,000 on extra incentive payments to recruit teachers for “hard to fill posts” in the city’s schools.
The individual payments of £5000 could be paid to fill up to 52 posts at primaries and secondaries across the city to help candidates from other parts of the UK to move to the booming oil capital of Europe
The staff shortage crisis is due to be discussed at a meeting of the authority’s urgent business committee on Thursday.
Gayle Gorman, the council’s director of Education,Culture and Sport, states in a report to the committee: “The staffing situation for primary schools and in some subject areas in secondary schools for academic session 2013/2014 is looking extremely challenging, with around 30-40 posts currently unfilled.
“This report sets out a proposal to offer successful candidates for these teaching posts, who are new to the city, a financial incentive, ie an additional payment on taking up post followed by a further payment at
the end of an agreed period of service.
“It is recommended that committee approve the use of Recruitment and Retention Incentive payments for hard to fill teaching posts at the discretion of the Director of Education, Culture and Sport. “
She continues “In addition, there may be some secondary posts in hard to fill subject areas to which we may wish to attach the incentive payment.
“At a time when raising attainment is a clear priority for the council, it is important that we can attract quality candidates to our schools. The fact that part of the payment is withheld until a minimum work period has been completed will ensure continuity in terms of teachers, which will benefit pupil progress, as will attaching a performance/behavioural element to the second payment.”
Ms Gorman adds: There is likely to be interest from the public and from other local authorities in the proposal to pay additional monies to teachers. As the first local authority in Scotland to be proposing such a move, it is likely that there will be national interest in this initiative.”
The initial payment to fill up to 52 posts will cost £156,000 with a further £104,000 to cover the cost of the second payment.
Councillor Ross Thomson, vice convener of the council’s education committee, backed the proposed initiative.
He said: “The city is doing extremely well which means it can be quite a costly city to live in, particularly if you are living in others parts of, not just of Scotland, but of the UK.”
Councillor Thomson added: “As much as we can get people to come to interview, when it actually comes to them taking the offer sometimes they are priced out of moving to Aberdeen.”