The possibility of maths teachers being recruited from overseas to fill gaps in staff at
two Borders schools is currently being investigated.
One such school, Kelso High School, sent out an email to parents this week on the issue. The school has had a vacancy in its maths department since the beginning of term.
Despite advertising maths vacancies, both Kelso High School and another Borders secondary, were unable to proceed to interviews.
“Together, we have been investigating the possibility of recruiting maths teachers from overseas,” said Kelso High rector, Ruth McKay, in her email to parents.
“This is a complex matter and one in which there are - quite appropriately - a number of additional checks involved in ensuring that any candidate would meet the standards required to teach in Scotland. This being the case, I am unable to give a timescale for when the situation might be resolved.”
The situation facing Kelso and other secondary schools is not just a Borders problem. The shortage of applicants for teaching positions in certain subject areas is a nationwide issue.
To cope with the situation at Kelso High in the meantime, changes have been made to the departmental timetable to ensure continuity for certificate-level maths classes.
But some disruption is inevitable as the maths vacancy accounts for 25% of the department’s capacity.
A spokesperson for SBC said there had been a natural turnover of staff at Kelso High, including the recent retirement of three teachers and others securing promoted posts.
“All vacancies were filled by the end of term with the exception of one maths vacancy,” she said. “There are specialist maths staff currently in place on a supply basis and the school is in the process of trying to recruit to the post.”
Asked to comment, Councillor Sandy Aitchison, SBC Executive Member for Education, said the Borders had not historically suffered from a teacher shortage.
“Some authorities in Scotland do have a very genuine problem recruiting teachers for various reasons but we have not had this problem except in some very specialist areas,” he told us.
“I was aware mathematics is an area where there is a national shortage of teachers and this situation simply reflects that fact.”