Highland students complete teacher training

Twenty four Highland students graduated through the University of Aberdeen this week at a ceremony held in the Town House, Inverness.

Celebrating their qualifications as new teachers were nineteen students receiving the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Primary). Five Highland students were also the first to receive the new qualification of Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Secondary).

Introduced in 2003, this part-time, distance learning in Primary Education was the first teaching course of its kind in Scotland allowing students from the Highland Council area the opportunity to study the same primary teacher training programme provided on campus by the University of Aberdeen’s School of Education while working from home using a combination of distance learning techniques.

The new programme, developed in collaboration with Highland Council, was created to address particular teacher shortages in Highland and gave opportunities to people who could not move away from home to train.

The students are tutored over two years by the University’s School of Education staff and Associate Tutors from Highland Council schools in a partnership approach.

The 24 students took part in classes via computer and video-conferencing equipment with school experience and practical sessions taking place in their own areas.

Addressing the graduates at the ceremony, Myra Pearson, Head of the School of Education, University of Aberdeen, said: "This is a tremendous achievement for all of these graduates. They have met the high demands of the course whilst overcoming the significant personal challenges that distance learning brings. We are particularly pleased that today we see the first secondary teachers graduate from this innovative new course.

"Managing to juggle family life with their studies and even, in some cases, keep working in their jobs shows great strength of character and determination. The quality of these new teachers is very high and each and every one is a great asset to the profession. They are to be heartily congratulated on their achievement.”

She added: “This is also a credit to the commitment of Highland Council and the University who continue to work together to address the long-standing issue of teacher supply in the Highlands.”

Hugh Fraser, The Highland Council's Director of Education, Culture and Sport said: "It is very encouraging to see strong numbers of graduates coming into the teaching profession through the part-time route. Their commitment is really to be commended and I hope that all of this year’s graduates will enjoy their probationer teaching placement with us here in Highland.”

Students who have completed the course come from all over the Highlands and Islands including:

• Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Primary)

Audrey Greig, Dingwall; Lorna Nelson, Gairloch; Catherine MacArthur, Glenelg; Jennifer Sinclair, Katharine Waters, Roslyn McMillan, Sarah Clement and Sharon Burkett, Inverness; Catherine Campbell, and Sheila Wallace, Kiltarlity; Sandra McIntyre, Kingussie; Ceri Turner and Melanie Eccleshall, Nairn; Elaine Ferguson and Megan Mackenzie, Portree; Carola Unger, Scrabster; Pamela McClelland, Strathpeffer; Elizabeth MacRae, Tomatin; and Mark Hughes, Wick.

• Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Secondary)
(Home Economics) Marion Hamilton, Inverness
(English) Catherine Jones, Drumnadrochit
(Mathematics) Susan Laing, Inverness
(English) Gordon Robertson, Alness; and
(English) Lisa Stephen, Portree.

27 Jun 2007