Aberdeenshire is struggling to fill teacher vacancies, and the high cost of living and lack of affordable housing could be to blame.
With Portlethen and Mearns Academies both advertising several key posts, as well as various staff vacancies at several primary schools, parents are becoming concerned about the impact the issue has on their children’s education.
With secondary pupils currently in the midst of important exams, there have been reports of teachers from different departments taking classes - leaving pupils feeling unprepared.
North Kincardine Councillor Alison Evison said: “There is a clear determination across the board in Aberdeenshire to ensure that targets for teacher numbers are reached and that our schools are fully staffed.
“There is, however, also a real difficulty with teacher recruitment, as the high living costs and lack of affordable housing in our area mean that many teachers would rather settle elsewhere.
“There are many creative approaches being developed by council officers to attract more teaching staff to Aberdeenshire. Students and probationers across Scotland are being made aware of the great opportunities in Aberdeenshire. Work is being done with the Scottish Government to encourage additional student teacher places here in the North-east.
“The current level of vacancies does, of course, bring challenges to those already working in our schools, and we should not under-estimate the stress that this can cause, particularly at this time of rapid curriculum change.”
Aberdeenshire Council are making concerted efforts to attract teachers to the region, offering an £8000 relocation package in some cases, as well as offering “excellent training, flexibility, generous holidays and generous pension” on their website, which adds: “Outstanding Opportunities in an Outstanding Location...find out how you can enjoy work, enjoy life in Aberdeenshire!”
However, the problem does not stop with teachers.
Difficulties recruiting NHS staff and police are also being blamed on the high cost of living and lack of affordable housing in Aberdeenshire, with many skilled workers choosing to live in more affordable parts of the country.
Last year it was revealed that NHS Grampian was undergoing a staffing crisis for the same reasons.
Calls have been made for an increase in affordable housing, while others feel that wges should rise to reflect living costs.
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