Falkirk’s comeback plea to ex-teachers

Liam Reilly (5) from Bainsford Primary and Grace Malcolm (5) from St Patrick's Primary join Saturday's protest Pic: Alan Murray
Liam Reilly (5) from Bainsford Primary and Grace Malcolm (5) from St Patrick's Primary join Saturday's protest Pic: Alan Murray

Teachers are being encouraged out of retirement to help Falkirk Council avoid a classroom staffing crisis.

The local authority has written to retired former employees encouraging them to sign up to be supply teachers.

The move comes as councils have agreed a deal with the Scottish Government to maintain teacher numbers for another year in return for funding allocations.

However, it comes as Falkirk Council, like many authorities across Scotland, is desperately trying to make savings on its education budget.

A proposal to reduce classroom hours from 25 to 22.5 hours next year appears to have been dropped after a surge of public protest. The move would have saved £1.91 million by cutting 54 teaching posts.

A small demonstration against the proposal took place at the Kelpies on Saturday with around 60 people attending.

In recent weeks, letters have been sent out to teachers who have taken retirement offering them the option of one or two days work a week with the local authority.

The offer did not include those who had left under voluntary severance with an enhanced payment who, in line with the council’s severance policy, are not generally re-employed.

Anyone committing to work beyond two days will be paid at the main grade rate of pay.

The council said it already has a “limited number” of retired teachers on the supply register who pick up short-term work.

A spokesperson said: “Our recent approach to retired teachers is an attempt to try something different to improve the availability of supply teachers locally.”

Councillor Alan Nimmo, education spokesperson said: “Like all authorities across the country, supply teachers are in very short demand.

“Our approach is to attempt to entice former teachers back into teaching and benefit from their years of experience. We hope to get interest from across the area in our search for teaching staff.”