Addressing race inequality in Scotland: the way forward

A report from the Scottish Government's independent adviser on race equality in Scotland.

F. Education

52. Statistically, with the exception of Gypsy/Traveller children, minority ethnic pupils in Scotland have higher levels of education attainment overall. However, there are a number of areas of concern in relation to education. These are that:

  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that the confidence/competence of teachers to promote anti-racist education is low and Local Authorities lack the policies to support anti-racist education;
  • According to the Staff Census, the ethnic diversity of the teaching profession has decreased with the proportion of teachers recorded as from a BME background falling from 1.9% in 2011 to 1.3% in 2016. It is not yet clear whether this is simply statistical variation or the start of a trend. I note that those whose ethnicity is unknown or who did not disclose their ethnicity rose from 3.1% to 4.9% in that period; however, the proportion of BME teachers is significantly below the actual proportions of minority ethnic people in the Scottish population (4%);
  • EHRC research shows that racist behaviour and incidents remains a serious problem in some areas in Scotland.

53. My view is that what is needed to address these issues is a focus on ensuring that Scotland's education policy, education research, curriculum frameworks, initial teacher education and key education stakeholders, demonstrate an active engagement in the delivery of race equality.

54. The thinking behind my proposed actions comes from discussions with Education officials, the Education Institute of Scotland ( EIS), Head of Moray House School of Education and Young Scot.

55. The aim of the actions described below are that at the end of 4 years there will be a fall in racist incidents in schools properly measured, an increase in number of BME teachers, an improvement in ethnic diversity across all levels in all educational institutions and an increase in the confidence and competence of teachers to deliver anti-racist education.

56. The actions cover the following areas:

  • Anti-Racist Education – (a) staff development and (b) education resources
  • Minority Ethnic Teachers in Scotland
  • Leadership Roles
  • Racist Incidents / Bullying

Anti-Racist Education

57. Two areas that are central to the provision of anti-racist education are staff development and continual professional learning and education resources. My recommended actions for the delivery plan are centred on what I understand are levers that the Scottish Government could use to ensure that race equality is embedded in policy and practice in the institutions responsible for teacher education and training and for producing education resources.

a) Staff development

Action 57: The Scottish Government should require the Scottish Funding Council to demonstrate that delivering race equality in education is included in the outcome agreements with Scottish HEIs responsible for Teacher Education Programmes.

Action 58: The Scottish Government should seek evidence from key organisations on how the National Improvement Plan considers and delivers race equality; in particular on the provision of career long anti-racist/intercultural staff development to support practitioners' competence and confidence.

Action 59: Given the importance of leadership to increase cultural understanding of all young people in schools and to get engagement/inclusion with the wider community right, the Scottish Government should make anti-racist and intercultural competence training a mandatory requirement in the programme ' Into Headship' and other similar leadership programmes.

b) Education Resource

Action 60: The Scottish Government should require Education Scotland to convene a group of educators to examine how anti-racist education might permeate the Curriculum Framework and the additional resources that might be required to do this. The group should be convened by a leading academic in Multicultural and Anti-Racist Education, working with a selected group of teachers and representatives from organisations with a particular interest in anti-racist education such as the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland ( CERES), the Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators ( SAMEE), and the Coalition for Race Equality and Rights ( CRER).

Action 61: The Scottish Government should fund a series of high level staff development seminars for leaders of Scottish education services including Education Scotland, the General Teaching Council for Scotland ( GTCS), Local Authority heads of Education, School Leaders Scotland, Association of Head Teachers and Deputes in Scotland and the Scottish Council of Deans of Education to develop knowledge and capacity to lead, manage and deliver race equality in their respective areas.

Action 62: As part of the rolling review the Scottish Government should monitor and assess the inclusion of issues relating to ethnicity and diversity, in all improvement initiatives including the Pupil Equity Fund, the STEM Strategy, the Induction Programme for Child Minders and the Parent Involvement Network, as well as in key approaches such as ' Getting It Right for Every Child'; and make public the outcome of the assessment and the action that will be taken to address any disparity in outcomes.

Minority Ethnic Teachers in Scotland

58. There is a lack of information on the numbers of minority ethnic applicants to teacher training courses, those securing places in training courses, those securing teaching posts, students dropping out and teachers leaving the profession. What we do know is that the number of BME teachers is falling at a time when there is a shortage of teachers in Scottish schools. While there have been previous attempts at addressing the low number of minority ethnic teachers, the outcomes of and learning from these initiatives have not been published. I have set out below a recommendation on the composition and remit for a working party on increasing the number of minority ethnic teachers in Scotland.

Action 63: The Scottish Government, working with the Strategic Board for Teacher Education and the GTCS should establish a short term working party on increasing the number of teachers from under-represented groups at all levels in Scottish schools. This working party should be chaired by an education expert with expertise on race equality issues, and its membership drawn from education experts familiar with race related issues as well as organisations with an interest in promoting greater diversity in the workforce such as the Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators ( SAMEE).

59. My suggested remit for this working group is outlined below. [7]

Leadership Roles

60. Currently there are few or no minority ethnic individuals working as head teachers or in a leadership role in any educational institution such as the inspectorate team and local authority education department in Scotland.

61. A recent Runneymede Trust poll of more than 1000 BME teachers across Britain found that BME teachers were most likely to be told to organise school events such as Black History Month or tasked with behaviour responsibilities, rather than tasked with more challenging teaching and leadership roles. Additionally, institutional racism was often manifested in subtle and covert 'micro-aggressions' by senior staff, and that played a key part in the barriers to career progression for BME teachers in many British primary and secondary schools.

62. In addition to the convening of a working party to examine the experience of minority ethnic teachers in Scotland (action 63 ), I recommend the following action to kick start the process of tackling the under-employment and under-promotion of BME teachers in Scotland.

Action 64: The Scottish Government should require Education Scotland to convene a panel of educators with equality expertise including on race equality, to equality proof the existing/future professional learning and leadership opportunities programme. The Panel would ensure that the programmes are designed to prepare individuals/teachers from underrepresented groups targeting in particular BME teachers, for leadership roles in all pedagogical institutions including headship of schools, inspectorate teams and local authority education departments.

Racist Incidents / Bullying

63. In addition to implementing in full Recommendation 9 in the report of the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion, I propose the following actions:

Action 65: The Scottish Government should publish and implement an anti-bullying strategy in schools which ensures first and foremost that young people feel empowered to raise problems of harassment including racist bullying. The strategy should fix the problems in the current data collection system regarding racist incidents and behaviour and make individual school performance on the prevention and response to bullying in particular to racist behaviour and incidents, a factor in the new equality indicator in ' How Good is Our School'.

Action 66: The Scottish Government should make mandatory the reporting of racist incidents and impose an 'inspectable' duty on Education Scotland when conducting inspections to look at the school education authority's approach to managing and reducing racial incidents and to highlight good practice.


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