An Education Workforce Council for Scotland
163. The consultation document explained that the Education Bill will include provisions to establish an Education Workforce Council for Scotland ( EWCS) which will take on the responsibilities of the General Teaching Council for Scotland ( GTCS), the Community Learning and Development Standards Council ( CLDSC) and register other education professionals.
164. They will have the following purpose: Through supporting and enhancing the professionalism of those involved directly and indirectly in learning and teaching, support Scottish education to be world leading in the delivery of high quality outcomes for all learners.
A higher proportion of respondents agreed than disagreed that the proposed purpose and aims of the Education Workforce Council for Scotland ( EWCS) were appropriate. There was some concern over the loss of GTCS's role, with some respondents supporting a continuation of existing bodies such as GTCS, the SSSC and CLDSC.
A wide range of different roles and functions were cited as being subject to mandatory registration with the proposed EWCS.
There was widespread support for the EWCS to be required to consult on the fees it charges for registration.
In terms of the principles that could be used in the design of the governance arrangements for the proposed EWCS, respondents cited the need for representation of all workers and parity of esteem across all registered professionals. The key principle cited was openness / transparency / accountability.
165. The consultation document asked:
Question 17: Are the proposed purpose and aims of the Education Workforce Council for Scotland appropriate?
166. As Table 12 shows, of those who responded to this question, views were slightly in favour of the proposed purpose and aims of the Education Workforce Council for Scotland ( EWCS), with 188 agreeing and 149 disagreeing. Around one in six provided a 'don't know' response and around a third did not provide a response to this question.
Table 12: Question 17
|Yes||No||Don't know||Not answered|
|Parent Council / Forum (103)||24||11||19||49|
|Local Authority (42)||9||1||4||28|
|Professional association / group (35)||9||5||2||19|
|Independent / 3rd sector (35)||7||2||2||24|
|Representative organisation (13)||1||3||1||8|
|Further Education / Higher Education (11)||5||1||1||4|
|Professional learning (7)||2||4||-||1|
|Other education (17)||4||2||4||7|
|Other organisation (19)||2||2||3||12|
167. Around two-thirds of respondents opted to provide further commentary in support of their response to this question.
168. The key theme, cited by around a third of those in favour of the establishment of the EWCS, was that this reflects the current direction of travel (cited primarily by respondents in local authorities, independent / third sector organisations and schools).
169. Other themes cited by small proportions of respondents in favour of the EWCS included that this is a valid goal to ensure that high standards are maintained and achieved by all individuals working within the education sector (cited by higher proportions of respondents in independent / third sector organisations, local authorities and professional associations / groups). Other themes were that being included in a professional body would facilitate better co-operation across individuals working within education or that this would promote professionalism for all working in the education sector.
170. The key concern emerging from almost half the respondents opposed to the establishment of the EWCS focused on concerns over the loss of the General Teaching Council for Scotland's ( GTCS) role and a preference for the continuation of GTCS. Highest levels of mentions for this issue came from local authorities, schools, professional associations / groups and headteachers. A smaller proportion of respondents also suggested retaining the GTCS for the teaching profession and setting up a separate organisation for other staff working within education.
171. Other issues cited by respondents opposed to the establishment of the EWCS included concerns:
- Over the dilution of professional teaching standards (cited by highest levels of local authorities, professional associations / groups and professional learning organisations).
- That amalgamation of GTCS and CLDSC will lead to a 'dumbing down' of the concept of professionalism and a loss of identity for the teaching and CLD professions.
- As to whether EWCS would be independent and queries over its governance and accountability.
172. Other concerns about the establishment of EWCS, and cited by small proportions of respondents both in favour and opposed to the organisation, included:
- Queries over how EWCS will carry out its purpose and aims or how it will be backed up by training and development, funding and support.
- EWCS could be too large and unwieldy or general concerns over the size and remit of EWCS.
173. Some respondents requested further detail on the registration process and likely fee levels.
174. Throughout this section of the consultation paper, the campaign noted its opposition to the establishment of the EWCS and noted that the GTCS is well established.
Question 18: What other purpose and aims might you suggest for the proposed Education Workforce Council for Scotland?
175. Around half of respondents opted to provide commentary to this question, although a number of these opted not to provide suggestions for other purposes or aims for EWCS. Any comments were made by very small proportions of respondents; many reiterated points made to the previous question.
176. Reference was made to the need for collaboration and collegiate working across all relevant sectors, with joined up thinking, a shared vision and shared standards that would encompass all individuals working within education. Small proportions of respondents also commented that anyone working in a school should have registration and accreditation and that it is important to recognise the contribution all individuals can make.
177. Some comments made by small proportions of respondents referred to standards within the sector, with comments of a need to recognise different types of learning and achievement and offer appropriate pathways for those working in the sector, or of the need to ensure fair and balanced standards and CPD for all parts of the workforce, based on existing frameworks for standards. There was also some reference for the need to acknowledge informal learning – this comment was made primarily in relation to the CLD sector in which informal learning takes place and is perceived to be valuable.
178. The consultation document set out the proposed functions of the Education Workforce Council for Scotland and asked:
Question 19: Are the proposed functions of the Education Workforce Council for Scotland appropriate?
179. Of those responding to this question, slightly more (170) agreed with the proposed functions of the Education Workforce Council for Scotland, than disagreed (147), although over half of this sample did not provide a definitive response with 107 providing a 'don't know' response and 250 not providing any response.
Table 13: Question 19
|Yes||No||Don't Know||Not answered|
|Parent Council / Forum (103)||21||10||20||52|
|Local Authority (42)||10||1||4||27|
|Professional association / group (35)||8||6||1||20|
|Independent / 3rd sector (35)||6||2||2||25|
|Representative organisation (13)||1||1||2||9|
|Further Education / Higher Education (11)||3||1||2||5|
|Professional learning (7)||1||2||-||4|
|Other education (17)||5||2||3||7|
|Other organisation (19)||4||3||1||11|
180. Overall, 372 respondents opted to provide additional commentary in response to this question, although any themes emerging were cited by very small proportions of respondents.
181. A theme cited by the highest proportion of respondents, albeit a small proportion, was disagreement with the proposal to establish the EWCS. A very small proportion also queried the need for the EWCS as other organisations such as General Teaching Council for Scotland ( GTCS), the Scottish Social Services Council ( SSSC) or the Community Learning and Development Standards Council ( CLDSC) already perform the suggested functions. A very small proportion of respondents also felt the proposed remit for the EWCS is too large for a single organisation to undertake. Allied to this, a very small proportion of respondents noted a preference for retaining the GTCS for teachers.
182. However, a similarly small proportion of respondents noted that the proposed functions of the EWCS are appropriate.
183. Other comments made by very small proportions of respondents included:
- That it will beneficial to bring together all individuals working within the education sector, to streamline services and help spread good practice.
- A need for clarity over the types of professionals or practitioners who would be covered by the EWCS, with some requests for the CLD sector to retain its own identity.
- The need for the EWCS to be accountable to local authorities as they are the employers of education professionals.
- The function which notes 'promote family/carer/community engagement in and with the education system' does not sit well with professional regulation.
Question 20: What other functions might you suggest for the proposed Education Workforce Council for Scotland?
184. Less than half of respondents opted to provide any additional commentary in response to this question and respondents echoed a number of these identified at previous questions. A very small proportion of respondents suggested that the EWCS could be an umbrella organisation for the GTCS and the SSSC.
185. Only small proportions of respondents made any other suggestions, and these included
- A need for stronger links with initial teacher education ( ITE) to ensure sufficient numbers of student teachers, consistency in ITE courses and access to teaching practice opportunities.
- Creation of closer ties across professions to increase learning opportunities and provide accredited training.
- Recognition and ratification of cross-professional development and the provision of support and development opportunities.
- Improved working conditions for teachers and the need to deal with the current issue of teacher recruitment and retention, so that positive career options can be offered and improvements can be made to teacher health and wellbeing.
- A need for registration to the EWCS to be fully inclusive across all practitioners, with some reference to the need to include volunteers working within the CLD sector.
- The need for the organisation to be independent and free from political interference.
- The need for functions to be clear and captured in legislation.
- The need for the EWCS to be accountable to local authorities as they are the employers of professionals working within the education sector.
186. The consultation document explained that the Scottish Government think that the new Education Workforce Council for Scotland should be able to register members of the following professions:
- CLD Practitioners
- Classroom Assistants/ ASL Support Workers
- Early Years Practitioners
- School Librarians
- College Lecturers and relevant support staff
- Home/School Link Workers
187. Respondents were asked for their views on:
Question 21: Which education professionals should be subject to mandatory registration with the proposed Education Workforce Council for Scotland?
188. Overall, 414 respondents opted to provide commentary to this question and a wide range of different roles and functions were cited for mandatory registration with the proposed Education Workforce Council for Scotland. A small proportion of respondents reiterated the roles cited in the consultation paper (teachers, CLD practitioners, classroom assistants / ASL support workers, early years practitioners, school librarians, college lecturers and relevant support staff, and home / school link workers).
189. The roles most frequently cited by very small proportions of respondents were:
- All teachers
- All adults in a school setting / all school staff
- Anyone directly involved in education / working in the education sector or in a learning environment
- All support staff
- ELC / nursery staff
- Classroom assistants / teaching assistants / pupil support
- CLD staff
- Educational psychologists / psychologists
- Higher / further education / university staff working in ITE and directly with schools
- Music teachers / instructors
- Home school link staff / family support
190. While most respondents focused on the types of staff who should be subject to mandatory registration within the proposed Education Workforce Council for Scotland, a small proportion noted their opposition to the establishment of the organisation. A small proportion also noted that all registration should remain with the existing bodies ( GTCS, SSSC etc) and a very small proportion were concerned that this would lead to a dumbing down of the teaching profession. A similar proportion agreed with the suggestion for a phased implementation period; or the need to treat volunteers within the CLD sector differently, with one organisation noting concerns over the potential loss of volunteers within the CLD sector if mandatory registration is introduced.
191. A very small number of respondents noted concerns over the potential cost of setting up the EWCS, with suggestions that this would be better spent on front-line education services or that it could be seen as poor use of public money. One organisation suggested a full analysis of the financial implications should be undertaken.
192. There were also a very small number of queries as to whether individuals currently registered with the SSSC would have to also register with the EWCS, with a suggestion that SSSC registration should continue for early years workers.
Question 22: Should the Education Workforce Council for Scotland be required to consult on the fees it charges for registration?
193. Table 14 shows that, of those responding to this question, there was widespread support across all sub-groups for the Education Workforce Council for Scotland ( EWCS) to consult on the fees it charges for registration, with 346 supporting this proposition and only 26 opposing it, although 59 respondents gave a 'don't know' response and 243 did not give any response.
Table 14: Question 22
|Yes||No||Don't know||Not answered|
|Parent Council / Forum (103)||39||4||13||47|
|Local Authority (42)||16||1||-||25|
|Professional association / group (35)||16||-||1||18|
|Independent / 3rd sector (35)||9||1||2||23|
|Representative organisation (13)||6||-||-||7|
|Further Education / Higher Education (11)||4||1||-||6|
|Professional learning (7)||2||1||-||4|
|Other education (17)||7||1||1||8|
|Other organisation (19)||6||-||-||13|
194. Key themes emerging at this question, albeit by very small proportions of respondents were that:
- There is a need for accountability and transparency in the setting of fees.
- There should be variable registration fees or a tiered structure for different categories of staff.
- Individuals need to know that charges are proportionate, fair and affordable.
- There is a need for lower charges for support staff / charges for support staff should not be prohibitive.
- While consulting on fees is the correct thing to do in principle, the functions of the organisation will have to be paid for either by self-financing and introducing a suitable level of fees to allow for this, or by being subsidised by government.
195. As outlined in the consultation document, in order to function effectively and to sustain confidence in its independence, the Scottish Government think that the Council governing the EWCS should be constituted to ensure that professionals do not form a majority. They anticipate a more 'board like' operation which holds the executive to account in exercising its core functions to deliver for relevant professions.
196. Respondents were asked:
Question 23: Which principles should be used in the design of the governance arrangements for the proposed Education Workforce Council for Scotland?
197. Around half of the respondents provided a response to this question.
198. The key comment emerging to this question was the need for representation of all workers and parity of esteem across all registered professionals. Very small proportions of respondents noted that the composition of the Council should be proportionate, that it should not allow one registrant type to become dominant or that there should be equal representation of all groups. A small proportion of respondents also commented that they objected to the suggestion that the Council should be made up of non-professionals or felt that professionals should be in the majority.
199. The key principle cited by a very small proportion of respondents was that of openness, transparency and accountability, although there were also references to fairness, inclusive, equitable, professional, respect, clarity and honesty.
200. Very small proportions of respondents also noted that the organisation should be independent, that it should not have links to COSLA, the Scottish Government or Education Scotland or that it should follow the principles of GTCS, the SSSC and other existing registered bodies.
201. A very small proportion of respondents also felt there should be more consultation with the workforce, parents and children.
202. In terms of the Council structure specifically, there were a small number of comments on the need for the Council structure to have a Board and sector specific committees; or a small board and expert sub-groups; with a suggestion that a small board should not be dominated by one group of individuals. Additionally, respondents stated that the membership of the Council / Board should reflect its functions and intended outcomes and reflect the diversity in its registrant base.
203. The final question in the consultation sought views on whether "The Education Workforce Council for Scotland" is the right name for a body which will establish professional standards and registration for a range of education professionals?
204. Respondents were asked:
Question 24: By what name should the proposed Education Workforce Council for Scotland be known?
205. Respondents cited a wide range of names that could be used for the proposed Education Workforce Council for Scotland, although most were made by only very small proportions of respondents. A small proportion noted that the name 'Education Workforce Council for Scotland' was acceptable; and a similar proportion felt it should be called GTCS. The main suggestion, from 8 respondents, was GECS - General Education Council Scotland. Other suggestions were each made by only one or two respondents and a list of all of the names suggested by respondents is included in Appendix 2.
206. Other comments made by respondents included:
- Disagreement with the establishment of the Education Workforce Council for Scotland.
- Use of the word 'workforce' does not imply professionalism and that the word 'profession' is needed in the title.
- The use of the word 'education' is wrong / the name should reflect the wide range of practitioners working within the sector.
- The name is less important than its function.