Worldwide search for teachers to address Scotland's classroom shortage

Retired teachers and trainees from overseas will be targeted in a campaign to tackle classroom shortages in Scotland.
John Swinney. Picture; Greg MacveanJohn Swinney. Picture; Greg Macvean
John Swinney. Picture; Greg Macvean

Surplus trainee teachers from Canada, Australia and Northern Ireland will be encouraged to apply to work in Scotland, while retired teachers who remain on the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) register will be asked to return part-time.

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Moves have been made to ease entry requirements for teaching staff from the rest of the UK to enable those with the required classroom experience to register in Scotland without necessarily having a teaching qualification.

The GTCS is currently carrying out research into teachers on the register who are not currently in the classroom to address shortages in schools.

Ken Muir, chief executive of the GTCS, said: “There’s around 73,000 on the teaching register and of that about 55,000 are currently teaching, so there’s clearly a shortfall there.

“There’s a large number of 17,000 who are not teaching for one reason or another and we are looking at how can we encourage these people to come back.

“All of these measures and initiatives are designed to try and get teachers into the classroom as quickly as possible to address some of the shortages we have been experiencing.

“We are looking at spreading the net as widely as possible to find out where teachers who were trained in Scotland, but are no longer working here, are and whether we can get them back working in Scottish schools.

“It is also sensible to have a dialogue with regulatory bodies in other countries where there may be too many teachers to alert newly qualified staff to the opportunities that exist here.

“For us it’s very important to maintain the quality of teachers that are coming to us and the high standards of teacher professionalism we have in Scotland.”

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The Scottish Government will reveal its own teacher recruitment campaign on Wednesday and Deputy First Minister John Swinney praised the GTCS campaign.

He said: “I very much welcome these efforts to recruit more teachers into Scottish classrooms, and I would encourage GTCS to bring forward these changes as soon as possible.

“The measures being explored by GTCS will tap into new and existing pools of talent, broaden routes into the profession and speed up the process whilst, crucially, maintaining our high standard of teaching.

“The Scottish Government is working closely with GTC Scotland and universities to develop new ways to attract people into the profession, supported with £1 million from our Attainment Scotland Fund.

“This is on top of the £88 million we are investing this year alone to recruit and retain teachers across the country, including our new recruitment campaign which will launch next week.”