A letter to parents from Moray's director of education and social care explaining staffing issues has created a surge of interest among would-be teachers.
Laurence Findlay wrote last week through the informal 'satchel mail' delivery network - a letter to parents taken home by pupils - to set out the current staffing situation in Moray.
He also appealed to anyone with a teaching qualification who would be interested in working in Moray Council's schools to get in touch. He said: 'Iif you know of anyone with a teaching qualification and registered with or eligible for registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, then I would ask you to encourage them to make contact with the Education and Social Care Business Support Team at the Moray Council.'
Since receiving the letters parents have clearly been busy on various social networks to spread the word, and scores of enquiries have been received by Moray Council.
Education staff are currently working through each enquiry.
Business Support Team Manager for education services, Lindsey Stanley, said all her team are sifting through the responses.
"We're delighted with the level of interest," she said.
"Each one is different, very individual in terms of qualifications and status, so every response has to be tailored which is taking some time.
"I hope people who have written can be patient with us - we will get back to them just as soon as we can."
Moray and other councils in the north east have experienced difficulty recruiting enough teaching staff in recent years, and have introduced a number of incentives to attract teachers to the area, including a rent-free period, generous re-settlement payments and training to attain GTC registration.
Laurence Findlay said: " It's surprising that, after all the other initiatives we've tried, this seems to have yielded so much interest."
Laurence's letter below:
Teaching in Moray
You will no doubt be aware from local and national media coverage that there is a severe shortage of teachers in Scottish schools, with rural areas such as Moray particularly badly affected. This Council has put in place a variety of measures and incentives over the past two years to try to solve the problems we are facing, yet we remain unable to attract sufficient numbers of teachers to cover vacancies. The situation in Moray is not as bad as in some areas, but it is certainly not improving and there are real risks to service continuity and for certain specialist subjects in secondary, alternative arrangements such as offering twilight courses in a central location may have to be considered. Indeed, in certain schools it may not be possible to offer some subjects at all. Your own child’s Head Teacher will keep parents informed of the situation in individual schools where there are specific difficulties in individual schools and Head Teachers will also keep parents informed of any contingencies in place.
As an education authority we remain fully committed to attracting as many people to come and work in our schools in Moray. To that end, if you know of anyone with a teaching qualification and registered with or eligible for registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, then I would ask you to encourage them to make contact with the Education and Social Care Business Support Team at the Moray Council (Educationandsocialcare@moray.gov.uk or 01343 563374). Similarly, if you, or anyone you know has an undergraduate degree and is interested in a career in teaching and would like to talk about potential routes into the profession and how we can provide support, then again please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We will be only too happy to help and advise in any way we can.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that Head Teachers and teachers in our schools are doing all they can to ensure the continuity of education at this time of staff shortage and they will continue to keep parents advised of the position in your own local school.
Corporate Director (Education and Social Care)
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 95,510 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.