A number of parents have expressed concerns over staffing issues at the Hope School. Two letters have been issued to parents this week from Orkney Island Council’s Education Department explaining the arrangements to be put in place arising from staff illness and gaps in the teaching provision.
Head Teacher Bruce Pilkington of the linked schools of Orphir & Stenness will be drafted in to cover the linked schools of Hope & Burray. School staff have been thanked for the work they have put in to deal with the ongoing situation.
Parents have told The Orkney News that they are dismayed that there has been no consultation.
The committee of the Parent Council have declined to comment.
Local Councillor, Steve Sankey, Scottish Green party said:
“The present temporary arrangements are seen as just that, temporary.
“Obviously the situation has been caused by the unfortunate illness of the HT and we all wish her a speedy recovery. Meanwhile, Bruce Pilkington is an experienced HT and so his secondment for next term is an ideal temporary solution. It is to be hoped that the situation doesn’t extend too long, although clearly at present this is an unknown.
“All parents have been informed about the situation by letter this week.”
He has advised concerned parents to contact the Head Teacher, the Parent Council or himself.
Parents have also raised the issue of teachers being taken on with temporary contracts and feel this is discouraging recruitment.
A spokesperson for the Education Department said:
“Schools right across Scotland are currently experiencing challenges in relation to the recruitment and retention of teaching staff and Orkney is no exception.
“As an Education Authority we are working together across and within all our schools to try and minimise any disruption. Unfortunately there are some particular gaps at Hope School and as a result temporary arrangements are being put in place for the start of next term. Our priority has to be to ensure that the main teaching classes are covered while we continue to work together to try and find solutions to the gaps created.
“We wish to thank parents and carers for their continued support to the staff team and school.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
You would think with a little imagination getting teachers to fill these posts should be possible, after all Orkney has been voted the best place in Scotland to live, a little recrutiment drive with video showing Orkney at it’s best would be a perfect use of some of the OIC reserves. Prime time telly springs to mind, throw in accommodation as an incentive and Bob’s your Uncle. Apologies all round if this has been done already. H