School pupils in video plea for a new maths teacher

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A Scottish secondary school has resorted to producing an online video to recruit maths teachers after failing to attract enough properly qualified applicants to staff the key subject.

Pupils at Preston Lodge High School, East Lothian, appear in the video in an attempt to sell the school to potential teachers after being unable to fill 2.5 maths teacher posts last month. Yesterday headteacher Gavin Clark revealed that the school’s advertisement only yielded four applicants, of which just one was a qualified teacher.

Staff and pupils at Preston Lodge High School in East Lothian became YouTubers this week after making an online video appeal in a bid to fill maths teacher vacancies

Staff and pupils at Preston Lodge High School in East Lothian became YouTubers this week after making an online video appeal in a bid to fill maths teacher vacancies

With Scotland facing a teacher recruitment crisis in Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, Mr Clark said it was “something of a relief” to secure the services of one maths teacher.

The remaining 1.5 posts have been re-advertised, with pupils and staff working together to produce an upbeat video to attract suitable candidates. The recruitment process closes on 5 November.

Mr Clark described the staff shortages facing schools “a pretty grim business”, in an interview published yesterday. He also revealed he had recently cut his computing department from two teachers to one.

Four adverts aimed at recruiting computing teachers had failed to unearth suitable candidates.

The problems faced by Preston Lodge came to light just weeks after Trinity Academy in Edinburgh was forced to ask parents to help after being unable to fill two maths teaching vacancies.

Meanwhile in March parents at Blairgowrie High school, in education secretary John Swinney’s Perthshire North constituency, received a letter from its headteacher appealing for “any parent with a maths or related degree” to come forward and help out as the school was struggling to fill maths teacher vacancies in the run up to exams.

Labour education spokesman Iain Gray said: “This is a great school I know well, and their difficulty in recruiting a maths teacher underlines the growing workforce crisis in our schools under the SNP. The core problem is that our teachers are now amongst the lowest paid and most overworked in the world.” 

Fiona Robertson, head of education at East Lothian Council, said: “We fully support the school’s choice to create this really positive YouTube video to attract maths teachers.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said recruitment was a matter for councils but recognised there were challenges.