A salary top-up should be offered to potential recruits as a means of tackling the “unprecedented” shortage of teachers across the north of Scotland, it was claimed yesterday.
At a summit in Aberdeen, councils called on education secretary Angela Constance to set up a taskforce to address the teacher shortage crisis. She was urged to top up the salaries with a similar arrangement to the “weighting allowance” paid to some workers in London and the Scottish islands.
Councils at the event in Aberdeen said the package of support was needed to help areas where scores of posts are unfilled and where adverts have been failing to attract suitable candidates.
The event, backed by Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Highland, Western Isles, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands councils, also heard a call for authorities to be given additional funds to help recruitment.
Jenny Laing, Aberdeen City Council leader, called on the minister to consider “possible solutions at a national and local level to support the region at a time of unprecedented low numbers of applicants and increased pupil numbers”.
She said: “The priority has to be the establishment of a nationally supported taskforce to agree an action plan for the region.
“I would also ask that consideration is given to whether a weighting for the North of Scotland would work for the recruitment of public sector workers similar to the weighting allowance for London and the Islands.
“Consideration must be given to addressing the annual budget settlement for North authorities to reflect these challenges.”
Ms Constance said the Scottish Government had increased the number of university places available for the fourth consecutive year as part of a bid to tackle the problem.
She said: “We will target the University of Aberdeen and the University of the Highlands and Islands.”