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Caithness News Bulletins August 2005

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Record Numbers Of New Teachers Opt For The Highlands

Minister for Education and Young People Peter Peacock MSP will today (Friday 12th August) meet more than 100 probationer teachers at Highland Council's headquarters in Inverness when they meet for an induction training day.

One hundred and seven probationers will take up post next week in schools across the length and breadth of the Highland Council area, almost double the amount probationers in Highland Schools on last year.

This dramatic increase in probationer teacher numbers for Highland equates to 56 probationers in 2004/05 to 107 for session 2005/06, with 60 probationers going into primary schools and 47 going into secondary.

Of the 107 probationers joining Highland Council this year, 23 of them have graduated from the new part-time distance learning course based at Aberdeen University, and 3 via a similar course at Strathclyde University.

Geographically, they will be joining schools as far apart as Wick, Nairn, Skye and rural Lochaber. Some have been allocated to large town schools with pupil rolls of over 400 pupils, with others joining very small rural schools of just 2 teachers.

Nine of the primary probationer cohort will be teaching in Gaelic Medium schools, while 13 of the secondary cohort have been allocated to Highland via the preference waiver route, a process where students indicate that they are willing to go anywhere in Scotland. This latter allocation has allowed Highland to partly address specific teacher shortages in English, Music and Technology.

Education Minister Peter Peacock said: "Despite the fact that school rolls are falling dramatically, we're increasing the number of teachers in our classrooms and there's an army of new recruits waiting in the wings, ready to bring their skills and expertise into schools".

"These are exciting times for Scottish education ~ as we embark on the biggest reform programme for a generation ~ and each and every one of these new teachers has a key role to play to keep our standards of education rising."

Bruce Robertson, Highland Council's Director of Education, Culture and Sport said:
"We are delighted to welcome new entrants to the profession in Highland. It is very pleasing that so many new teachers have opted to come to work in our schools where they will be made very welcome."

"We are also pleased that a significant number of probationers are home grown, coming from the new part-time distance learning course based at Aberdeen University with which Highland Council is a key partner."

Friday's Probationer Induction Day, is the first of 4 in-service training days throughout the year specifically allocated to probationer teacher induction and training.

Following the Minister's visit, the 107 new probationer teachers will spend the day being introduced to various aspects of the integrated central and school-based support structure to deliver the probationary induction programme for session 2005-06.