University students teaching maths at crisis-hit school.

The Scotsman reports that university students are being drafted in to help teach maths at an Edinburgh secondary school after a job advertisement to fill two vacancies failed to find anyone suitable for interview.

A Freedom of Information request by The Scotsman reveals Trinity Academy, whose maths teaching crisis led to angry exchanges between First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Tory leader Ruth Davidson at First Ministers Questions in the Scottish Parliament, received fewer than five applications.

In the meantime the school has implemented a range of measures including using third year maths students from the University of Edinburgh to teach S2 and National 5 level pupils, getting specialist external help when obtainable, and using nonspecialist internal class cover to which the head teacher, Bryan Paterson, is contributing.

The school’s maths crisis emerged in September when Mr Paterson contacted parents for help in filling the posts – saying the major cause was Scotland’s national shortage of teachers in subjects such as maths, science, technology, business and home economics.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, commenting on students assisting teachers at the school, said: “The solution to these recruitment difficulties must include actions to make teaching a more attractive career to highly qualified graduates – including a reduction in excessive workload pressures and significant improvements to teachers’ pay following a decade of salary erosion.”

Councillor Ian Perry, education convener for Edinburgh City Council, said: “We have been working closely with the school over filling the vacancies and will continue with the various measures put in place, which has the support of the Parent Council, to minimise disruption to the pupils’ learning.

“Our priority remains ensuring that the curriculum continues to be delivered to the highest possible standard.”

Read more University students teaching maths at crisis-hit school.

As a last resort do you think it’s ok to have university students teaching in schools? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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