Scottish councils crippled by staff shortages demand control over teacher training
A group of local authorities in Scotland is demanding to take over control of teacher training to tackle “cruel” staff shortages believed to be damaging pupils’ education in rural areas.
The demand from the seven councils that make up the Northern Alliance comes as authorities are turning to increasingly desperate measures to plug teaching gaps, including asking parents to help them to find qualified staff.
The councils – Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Highland, Moray, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles – want to introduce more varied routes into the profession, and for trainees to carry out more practical experience in schools so they become more rooted in the area.
They also want workforce planning to look further ahead and take greater account of local circumstances.
The changes would give them control over areas currently overseen by the government. However, they say that they are not calling for initial teacher education to be taken out of the hands of the universities.
Education secretary John Swinney visited the region this month, announcing that more than £3 million was being made available to train an extra 371 teachers next year across Scotland.