Leader comment; Brightest and the best needed

Amid the difficulties of recruiting teachers Education Secretary John Swinney is looking at the idea of  remote lessons via the internet.

Amid the difficulties of recruiting teachers Education Secretary John Swinney is looking at the idea of remote lessons via the internet.

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The teacher recruitment crisis in Scotland’s schools has taken a new twist with John Swinney, the education secretary, touting of the idea of pupils being taught by video link.

No-one is ever going to think video links could provide the quality of education provided by having a teacher in the room, someone who knows the pupils and their strengths and weaknesses, and can react to any incidents requiring an intervention.

This latest idea follows the political furore when the head teacher at Blairgowrie High School in Mr Swinney’s constituency appealed for qualified volunteers to help with maths teaching.

But the big question is how do we get more people to train as teachers?

A large part of the answer is to look at factors acting as a deterrent – and these are not difficult to find. Teacher numbers have been cut at the same time as the bureaucratic workload has increased. New initiatives were introduced without being backed up with adequate resources.

There are disputes over pay and disgruntlement at the lack of a coherent promotion structure.

Teaching has an image problem.

This is a great pity because teachers have the power to inspire pupils and change the direction of their lives forever.

How can the profession be changed so it is once more an attractive proposition?

Freeing teachers from the bureaucratic burden so they have time to spend with pupils would be a good starting point.

There are many excellent candidates out there, the task now is to get them to sign up for the job.

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