Schoolchildren take to Youtube in desperate bid to attract maths teachers


SCHOOLCHILDREN have posted a Youtube video in a desperate bid to find maths teachers.

Preston Lodge High in Prestonpans, East Lothian, is short of two full-time maths teachers and one part-time.

But a recent advert resulted in just four applicants coming forward, only one of whom is a qualified maths teacher.

So the kids and teachers have taken to social media to try to persuade more applicants to apply.

Posting the three-minute film online, featuring pupils and teachers, the school’s social media page wrote: “Maths Teaching Vacancy at Preston Lodge High School. Come and join us!”

In the clip, pupils from S1 up to S6 are seen holding up white boards with reasons why a teacher should join Preston Lodge, which they refer to as “PL”.

One message held by a pupil read: “Maths at PL is superb because you learn new things in a fun new way.”

Whilst another pupil speaking on camera says: “Throughout my experience at PL I’ve had nothing but support and help from the teachers around me. I struggled with my exams leading up to it and with their help I managed to get an A.”

SCHOOLCHILDREN have posted a Youtube video in a desperate bid to find maths teachers.

Teachers are also featured in the video, with one saying: “The learners are one of the best reasons to come to Preston Lodge High School as they are so enthusiastic, they’ll make you laugh.”

Speaking about the recruitment crisis, headteacher Gavin Clark said: “It’s a pretty grim business.

“The maths teacher shortage is significant and although the Scottish Government bursaries are a positive step, they will not solve the immediate crisis.”

Currently the maths department at the school has 11 teachers but is still in need of one full-time teacher and one part-time. The positions pay up to £35,763 but maths graduates can earn considerably more elsewhere.

Mr Clark welcomed education secretary John Swinney’s announcement for busaries for potential maths teachers saying there is a need for a “significant uplift in pay.”

Mr Mr Clark concluded: “What I’d like to be able to say is, ‘We’ll give you full-time pay for part-time hours’ – we need radical solutions.”

Stephen Miller, president of School Leaders Scotland, added the only way at the moment for a school to solve maths teacher shortages was “by robbing’ another school and creating the same problem for them.”

The recruitment issues at Preston Lodge High School is part of a wider issue within Scotland.

Earlier this month the Scottish Government announced a £2m funding boost for teacher training in Stem subjects.

100 ursaries of £20,000 will be availbel for people willing to change careers to train as maths, computing science, physics or technical education teachers.

Over the past two years, targets for maths trainees at have been missed by Scottish universities.

Last year 179 Postgraduate Diploma in Education positions were sought, with just 128 being filled whilst the year before 146 positions were sought but only 76 were recruited.

The Scottish Tories said today children should not have to “beg” teachers to join their school.

Shadow education secretary Liz Smith said: “While these pupils should be commended for their ingenuity, it does expose just how desperate a situation the SNP has created.

“It should not be left to children to beg would-be teachers to come and give lessons.

“On the back of parents being asked for help in filling teaching gaps left by the SNP’s workforce planning shambles, this is another very worrying situation.

“The Scottish Government’s failure on recruitment is risking the quality of education in key subjects for far too many young people.”

The Educational Insitute of Scotland said teacher recruitment remains a major issue.

An EIS spokeswoman said: “While the EIS cannot comment on the situation in any particular school, teacher recruitment does remain a challenge across the country and, in particular, in certain subject areas including STEM subjects such as Mathematics.

“A concerted and coordinated approach will be required to resolve this issue – this will require additional action to reduce excessive levels of teacher workload and a firm commitment from local authorities and the Scottish Government to improve teachers’ pay which has been declining, in real terms, for more than a decade.” – EIS spokesperson.”

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 to Preston Lodge. The video shows what a strong staff team the school has and the great relationship they have with the pupils.

“The Education Service has been working closely with our schools to adopt innovative and creative approaches to recruiting staff including the use of videos and social media so Preston Lodge taking this step is something we encouraged.

“We are constantly looking at new ways of doing things and have visited the E-School (e-Sgoil) on the Western Isles to see the innovative way they use digital learning to deliver the curriculum. Digital platforms are increasingly important so using YouTube in this way fits in with our whole ethos.”

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