Teachers Wanted: The Recruitment & Retention Challenge

Scottish councils paid out £60m over the past year for supply teachers to cover unfilled vacancies in our schools. That is £1m higher than in 2017. This timely event examines the reasons for the current teacher shortage, what the Scottish Government and Local Authorities are doing to address this issue, and explores possible solutions to recruiting and retaining teachers.

A "crisis" in teacher recruitment in Scotland? 

The Scottish Government has invested money and energy in recruiting additional teaching students, with a 16% rise between 2015 and 2018. Critics argue, however, that the sharp increase in pupils cancels out any additional students in teacher training.

There are shortages in traditionally difficult-to-fill subject areas such as science, maths, and computing, but also in languages, physical education, and home economics.

It is therefore undeniable that there are very real challenges in teacher recruitment – the General Teaching Council for Scotland highlight that teacher shortages is 'one of the most pressing issues' in education. In the face of this critical challenge, we ask, what can be done to improve the recruitment and retention of teachers in Scotland?

Join us to hear from experts and policymakers from across the education sector as we examine the solutions to recruiting and retaining more teachers in Scotland.

Why come to this event?

  • Hear from outstanding experts and policymakers from across the education sector
  • Your chance to question the people that matter
  • Join the conversation in an interactive roundtable discussion
  • Network with other people involved in education and share innovative approaches to tackling the retention challenge

Who should attend? 

  • Head teachers and deputy heads
  • All other teachers
  • Local Authority education professionals
  • Elected representatives with an interest in education
  • Academics interested in education
  • Other professionals interested in education


9.45 Registration and Refreshments 

10.25 Welcome and Introduction from the Chair 

10.30 Session 1: Teaching in Context 

  • What are the main challenges in relation to teacher recruitment and retention?
  • More pupils, more teachers
  • The recent pay settlement between teachers and the Scottish Government 
  • Scottish Parliament, Local Government, and the Classroom: the relationships that underpin teacher recruitment

10.30 Expert speaker 

11.00 Expert speaker 

11.30 Q&A

11.40 Refreshments and Networking 

12.00 Session 2: Recruitment and Addressing the Gaps in the Workforce

  • Making teaching more attractive to STEM graduates  are bursaries enough?
  • Twelve new routes into teaching
  • Revised teaching standards, mentoring guidance, and professional review and development guidance  
  • The role of supply teachers

12.00 Widening Access

This presentation will explore the key issues facing recruitment in primary education and the efforts needed to widen access not only for applicants from SIMD backgrounds, but also to address the gender balance and increase applicants from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Monica argues that we need to open up greater dialogue with schools to see how we can start to address this in partnership.

Monica Porciani, Academic Selector for the BA in Primary Education, University of Strathclyde 

12.30 Liz Lakin, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Dundee 

13.00 Q&A

13.10 Lunch and Networking 

14.00 Session 3: Radical Solutions and How to Retain Teachers 

  • Relieving stress: how can we reduce teachers' workloads without compromising on the quality of education?
  • Tackling disillusion in the workplace
  • Teacher contracts

14.00 Interactive Roundtable Discussion

This is your chance to examine possible solutions to improving the recruitment and retention of teachers and learn from the experiences of colleagues from across Scotland. 

14.30 Place2Be Teacher Education Pilot Programme 

Frances Griffin, Lead Clinician, Place2Be
Kathleen Forbes, Lead Clinician, Place2Be

15.00 Q&A  

15.10 Closing Remarks from the Chair 

15.15 Close of Event 

*The agenda is subject to change 

Our events are CPD certified. This event is equivalent to 3 CPD points.
A certificate is available on request post-event to all attendees.




Central Edinburgh, to be confirmed in due course.


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Reduced rate: 1 place £145 + VATpp (Voluntary/charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Standard rate: 1 place £245 + VAT | 2+ places £195 + VAT per place (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary/charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Private Sector rate: 1 place £295 + VAT | 2+ places £245 + VAT per place (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email enquiries@holyrood.com or phone 0131 285 1635

7 May 2019
Central Edinburgh
United Kingdom



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