Shortage of teachers
The University of Aberdeen is helping to address a shortage of teachers in rural parts of Scotland with an online course which allows people already living in these communities to complete a teacher education course more flexibly.
Despite increasing numbers of students training to become teachers, severe shortages of teachers remain in rural communities. In 2015, nearly 300 teaching posts were vacant in northern Scotland.
When newly-qualified teachers did take up placements, many decided that the realities of rural life were not for them and moved to urban schools. However, by enabling people already living in these communities to change career and become a teacher, the University has focused recruitment for student teachers on individuals who are much more likely to stay.
The University worked in partnerships with councils to create an online, Distance Learning Initial Teacher Education training course (DLITE). The course is structured in such a way that aspiring teachers will be able to study part-time and more flexibly. It is delivered through e-learning, face-to-face Saturday workshops, self-study, collaborative group work and school placements to develop the academic, personal and professional skills necessary for teaching. The course comprises an 18-month programme of study, which includes 18 weeks of placement experience in a school, with a guaranteed job as a probationary teacher at the end. Placements are normally in four-week blocks.
The online Professional Graduate Diploma in Education DLITE was initially offered to those who wanted to become primary school teachers; but, it was so successful that it is now being extended to those who wished to teach in secondary schools in specific subject areas.
The University’s School of Education has also seen a promising number of students teachers enrolled in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) related subjects, helping to address a shortage of teachers in these subjects in local classrooms.