Award for recruitment scheme

Council officers Audrey Hendry, Iain Bell and Margaret Kahn are pictured with Stephen MacGregor from the Scottish Government, Skene School head teacher Amanda Hampton and Jackie Bird who presented the award.
Council officers Audrey Hendry, Iain Bell and Margaret Kahn are pictured with Stephen MacGregor from the Scottish Government, Skene School head teacher Amanda Hampton and Jackie Bird who presented the award.

An innovative Aberdeenshire Council scheme which encourages people to become teachers has received a major award at a recent ceremony.

The council’s Education and Children’s Services won the Scottish Government’s Excellence Award at this year’s COSLA Excellence Awards for its Distance Learning Initial Teacher Education (DLITE) programme.

Established in 2013, the initiative allows people to continue to work while studying for a postgraduate teaching qualification (PGDE) and has attracted up to 20 new recruits per year to the profession within the region and the judges’ feedback stated that the scheme “clearly identified the rationale and that there was a significant issue. There was clear detail about how the project was planned and delivered.”

The programme was established following a Scottish Government report encouraging universities to make it easier for people to become teachers by offering part-time and distance learning courses.

Councillor Gillian Owen, Education and Children’s Services chairwoman, said she is delighted that the local authority has received national recognition for its approach to tackling teacher recruitment.

She continued: “One of the hallmarks of this success has been the fact that up to 20 new recruits have joined the teaching profession each year. The national shortage of teachers is never far away from the spotlight but initiatives such as the DLITE programme demonstrate we are working imaginatively, collaboratively as well as hard to address the issue.”

Councillor Mark Findlater, the committee’s vice-chairmain, also said the scheme is one of several innovative approaches taken to attract new teachrs.

He added: “These initiatives include persuading teachers from Canada and Ireland to relocate to Aberdeenshire and encouraging those working in the oil industry who were made redundant to consider a career in teaching.

The programme has been hugely successful as it has been rolled out to include primary and secondary schools and residents of Aberdeenshire as well as council employees.