Anti-Racism in Education Programme Board minutes: February 2023

Minutes from the group's meeting on 23 February 2023

Attendees and apologies


  • Khadija Mohammed, Chair 
  • Nuzhat Uthmani, Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce Subgroup (DITPEW)
  • Jovan Rao Rydder, Curriculum Reform Subgroup 
  • Farah Farzana, Racism and Racist Incidents Subgroup (RRI)
  • Samir Sharma, Education Leadership and Professional Learning Subgroup (ELPL)
  • Monica Medina, Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) 
  • Asif Chishti, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)
  • Matthew Sweeney, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Peter McNaughton, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES)
  • Louise Barrett, Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE)
  • Carol Young, Coalition for Race Equality and Rights (CRER)
  • Ndaye Lisa Badji, Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS)
  • Nikhat Yusaf, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network 
  • Laura-Ann Currie, Education Scotland 
  • Judith Ballantine, Learning Directorate, Scottish Government (SG)
  • Pauline Hendry, Secretariat, SG 


  • Crisantos Ike, Member of Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP)
  • Rosy Burgess, Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP)
  • Victoria Smith, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. Apologies and substitutes were noted, as below:

  • Asif Chishti attending on behalf of Victoria Smith, GTCS


Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes from the last meeting were distributed with the papers for this meeting. An update was provided on the actions:

  • Secretariat to share final draft of Terms of Reference and Anti-Racist Principles with members. Closed – this has been shared with the papers for today’s meeting and will be discussed further under agenda item 3
  • Secretariat to share ITE framework with members once published. Carried forwards – not yet published
  • Secretariat to set up a meeting with interested bodies to discuss CYP engagement further – Ongoing – will be discussed under agenda item 7 
  • Secretariat to reshare 2021-2022 spending summary with members. Closed – sent to members with previous meeting’s minutes on 2 February and will be discussed further under agenda item 5
  • Secretariat to ask policy colleagues to set up meeting with RRI co-chairs to discuss further – Ongoing – policy colleagues who lead on the RRI sub group will arrange the next meeting once staffing resource has been identified for that unit

There were no further comments and the minutes were agreed.


Update and overview of today's meeting

The Chair reminded members that at the previous meeting they:

  • received an update on progress in terms of both Education Reform consultations. Professor Hayward (Review of Qualifications and Assessment) would like to undertake further discussions with the AREP Board in March, and this will be covered under agenda item 4
  • discussed the anti-racism in education summit which the Scottish Government’s Director General for Education, Joe Griffin is holding at the end of March. Agenda item number 8 will provide an opportunity to discuss progress and Mélina Valdelièvre from Education Scotland will talk through the summit pledge which she’s been developing with valuable input from others
  • agreed that the topic of finance should be added as a rolling agenda item. It will be discussed under agenda item 5

The Chair went on to remind Members that at November’s Board meeting, IYS gave a presentation on engagement with children and young people and how co-design should be the cornerstone of such activity. Since then, IYS have been developing a proposal to take forward engagement with young people on that basis. It was shared as one of the papers for this meeting in order that they can provide the scrutiny function to refine the proposal before it goes to Ministers for consideration. This will be addressed under agenda item 7.

The Chair also reflected on the final draft of the group’s Terms of Reference, drawing attention to section 4 and reminding members of their responsibilities to ensure their contributions to meetings are constructive and respectful, ensuring that the discussion is a safe space for everyone in attendance. Further discussion points included:

  • a request for the TOR and AR Principles document to be attached to the agenda for every meeting for ease of reference
  • the reference to intersectionality in paragraph 1 is not considered to be accurate, with members making the point that had the historical policy ambitions referred to taken an intersectional approach, the AREP would not be required. The use of the word “ensured” suggests concrete achievement. Alternative wording of ‘aspired’ or ‘intended to’ was suggested
  • the need to clarify the difference between structural racism and institutional racism and reflect these accurately, perhaps within the 5th bullet point under Section 1, which refers to diversity among the teaching profession
  • a trauma informed approach should be embedded in any discussions, and reflected in the TOR. Members made the point that it is not enough to recognise that trauma is involved, capacity building would be needed amongst members to achieve this aim
  • as part of this it was suggested that members include intergenerational and vicarious trauma and reflect the need to address them in the ToR
  • it was noted that these were helpful additions and they should be balanced with the aim of taking action and progressing ambitions

Action: Secretariat to:

  • attach the ToR to the agenda for all future meetings
  • contact SG colleagues in the Trauma, ACEs & Resilience Team to explore how best to access training
  • Chair to restate the text relating to respectful dialogue at the beginning of every meeting


Education reform (including National Discussion and Reform of Assessment and Qualifications)

Professor Hayward, (Review of Qualifications and Assessment), is keen to carry out a dedicated session in March with AREP members, to consider some of the emerging thinking around senior phase qualifications. She will attend the session which will be run by her Secretariat. The AREP Secretariat will confirm the date with members as soon as possible, and a calendar invitation will issue shortly.

Members expressed that they would like the meeting to be specific to the work of the AREP. Feedback from another member who had already been involved in follow up discussions with Professor Hayward reassured that the discussions were not generic in nature.

Action: Secretariat to clarify the topics which will be discussed with Professor Hayward's unit.



Secretariat outlined the programme spend in the previous financial year and in the current financial year to date.
Approximately £300k was attached to this work in 2021-22 and the same figure was allocated at the start of 2022-23.

There were some comments around the small budget ascribed to this work, with members stating that this reflects a perception of how anti-racism work is valued. It was suggested that the comparatively small budget (when compared to other pieces of SG work) was a form of institutional and systemic racism. It was acknowledged that sign off on budget allocation was not within the gift of SG officials at the meeting.

Members considered that where money had been spent, it had generally been well used and with positive impact, reflecting the commitment and expertise of AREP members. 

The point was made that the budget should not merely be interpreted as ‘spend’ but also as investment – the BRL programme was given as an example of this given the way in which continuity and sustainability are built in.


Progress updates from each of the chairs of the AREP subgroups

Each subgroup chair was asked to provide a verbal update on progress in their subgroups. (Written updates are provided as annexes to these minutes).

Education Leadership and Professional Learning (See Annex A)

Clarification was provided around the intention to offer the BRL Programme to Into Headship (IH) programme leads to increase the racial literacy of those developing IH course content. It isn’t currently possible to offer it to IH participants due to the existing workload in their programme. However, it was acknowledged that making the BRL (or similar) a condition of entry to the Into Headship programme in the longer term could be enormously impactful.

Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce (See Annex B)

Comment was made on the review of the Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland. While the review is not scheduled until Autumn 2024, the subgroup have tabled it for discussion at their next meeting, specifically the admissibility of ESOL as an equivalent of SCQF Level 6 English for primary courses. The details about this that were shared at the last DITPEW meeting will be included with these minutes for information.

Action: Secretariat to append detail around the review of the Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland provided to the DITPEW subgroup to these minutes. (see Annex C)

Curriculum Reform (See Annex D)

Racism and Racist Incidents 

The Chair met with the co-chairs to discuss how work may be taken forwards while the issues of resourcing the RRI Secretariat is resolved. The co-chairs agreed that they will continue to maintain contact with other members and reflect on how the Terms of Reference might be updated. 

Action: Secretariat to add: Chair; group membership; and dates of previous meetings to workstream templates. 


IYS proposal - engagement with children and young people

During the November meeting, IYS gave a presentation on engagement with children and young people and how co-design should be the cornerstone of such activity. Since then, they have been developing a proposal to take forward this work. It was shared with members in advance of this meeting in order that they can provide scrutiny to refine the proposal before it goes to Ministers for consideration.

Members were for asked comments and questions.

Q: The age group of participants, with concerns that a 16-20 age range excludes the majority of school aged children. How will IYS include other age groups? 
A: Physical space and areas of expertise were cited as limits to including a wider age range of participants.

Q: Concerns about time out of the classroom for school-aged participants, particularly at senior phase stage. How will IYS ensure they mitigate this?
A: IYS explained that the half day sessions are not scheduled during the school day, and will begin after the exam period is over. By concentrating sessions during the summer period, it is hoped to take pressure off attendance by participants.

Q: Query about the demographic of the group and lack of representation of white racialised minority children and young people, perhaps around shared experiences, or what it means to be an ally.
A: IYS noted that they work primarily with BPOC young people. When it comes to scrutiny of these issues, IYS consider that BPOC young people should be the primary participants.

It was suggested that IYS may wish to consider the model used by the BRL whereby safe spaces for both BPOC and white participants are provided for reflection and discussion before reconvening. 

Q: Mental Health and Wellbeing expense within the core costs: what is this and is it linked to a trauma informed approach?
A: IYS noted that this is a core cost which they add on to all funding proposals, saying that it is left deliberately vague in order to protect the mental health of trainers/facilitators and participants. IYS confirmed there is no intention for a counsellor to proactively be present at each session, but will attend reactively if required, resulting in the additional cost.

Q: Request for a comparison chart to compare the short vs longer term model.
A: Secretariat advised that as any longer term model will only be funded as part of the new Education Reform programme, it won’t be considered as part of this process, in order to avoid double funding.

Q: Would the proposal be funded during the current financial year or during the next one?
A: The Secretariat confirmed that funding would comefrom next year’s budget given the proximity to end of the current financial year.

Members were asked to send further questions and comments via email. Action: All members.


Anti-racism in education summit

The Anti-Racism in Education summit will provide a platform for everyone in the Scottish Education system to sign up to a specific, measurable anti-racist commitment, regardless of level of seniority or where they are on their anti-racist journey.

The commitment will take the form of a pledge which is developing with input from members. The Curriculum sub group’s anti-racist principles, which they are seeking to publish at the end of March are reflected in it and members should keep them in mind when thinking about any refinements. The Chair asked for comments on both documents.

Key discussion points included:

  • some uncertainty around the purpose of the pledge. Is the aim for organisations to become more racially literate, or to improve practice? If the purpose is the latter, there ought to be an acknowledgement of the existing challenges with the current system. The Promise was suggested as an example where this has been reflected effectively
  • some concerns around the timescale for the event, which were acknowledged as was the keenness to take advantage of the opportunity to begin public discourse at an early stage
  • the pledge should represent a clear commitment to anti-racism and action. While racial literacy is mentioned within the pledge, action is the most important aspect
  • careful thought should be given to how much is feasible for organisations to achieve within a year

A feedback loop for comments made on the pledge was requested, so that members know that their input has been actioned. Action: Secretariat


Next steps and any other business

The Chair expressed her appreciation to all participants for their time and input and outlined the immediate next steps: 

  • Secretariat will circulate the minutes of the meeting by 3 March

The next meeting of this group will be held on Thursday 30 March 2023 from 15:00-16:30. 


Any other business

Hakim Din and Colin Duff, of Calabar Consultants will be invited to attend the next meeting to present their findings, having completed the development of the AREP Evaluation Framework.


Annex A

Workstream reporting - Education leadership and professional learning

Key achievements

  • examples of regional networks to support anti-racist practice are emerging, with Forth Valley and West Lothian (FVWL) setting up a regional Building Racial Literacy (BRL) group with current and past programme participants. Secondments in local authorities and Regional Improvement Collaborative have the potential to strengthen this work, as has been seen in FVWL
  • the BRL Programme Lead met with Into Headship Design members to explore what elements of the Into Headship programme already support anti-racist practice and what could be strengthened. Next steps are being explored, including offering BRL to Into Headship programme leads to increase the racial literacy of those developing course content for aspiring headteachers
  • the Race and Inclusivity in Global Education Network (University of Edinburgh) recently published three blogs about BRL, two of which are written by past participants who describe how transformational the professional learning was for them and their learners

Foward look

  • the third cohort of BRL (approx.. 140 participants) will be completing the programme on 23rd March. AREP members will be receiving invitations to attend the BRL Sharing the Learning (online) Summit on 23rd March, 9am – 4pm
  • an ITE anti-racist network is beginning to emerge to support the implementation of the Anti-Racism in ITE Framework. Racial Literacy of teacher educators was identified as a key area of work
  • the anti-racism pledge at the Scottish Government Anti-Racism in Education Summit could strengthen engagement of local authorities and educators who have not engaged so far with anti-racist professional learning


  • 0 secondary headteachers have completed BRL over the past three cohorts, with no more than a dozen primary headteachers. Further consideration should be given to engage headteachers and support anti-racist leadership


Annex B

Workstream reporting - Diversity in the teaching profession and education workforce 

Key achievements

  • the sixteenth meeting of the DITPEW subgroup took place on the 21 February 2023. Scottish Government Data Analysts came along to this meeting to discuss the emerging figures which will form the third annual data report, currently scheduled for publication at the end of March. This work will continue over the coming month
  • the group also had a very positive discussion about the upcoming Anti-Racism in Education Summit and made comment on the wording of the pledge commitment

Forward look

as already mentioned, work has begun on the next iteration of the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Annual data report. This is provisionally scheduled for publication late March. Related to this the DITPEW group have agreed to take forward action relating to enhancing the rates of disclosure for ethnicity data. This includes supporting employers to encourage employees to disclose their ethnicity data, including working to build trust around the purpose for gathering and processing this information

  • work is underway to develop a session to be delivered as part of the Developing the Young Workforce programme. This will be focused on a range of issues such as pathways/how to be a teacher, what it means to be a teacher and support for teachers – all with a focus on encouraging minority ethnic children and young people into the profession. A small working group has been established to take this forward
  • we expect the Anti-Racism in ITE framework, that Khadija has developed for SCDE to be published on Twitter and their website imminently. The working group stand ready to support SCDE, Khadija and ITE institutions in implementing this. Asif and Louise updated the group on plans to form a collaborative network co-hosted by SCDE and the National Race Diversity Lead focused on taking forward work to increase race diversity in ITE and taking forward the SCDE’s anti-racist ITE framework
  • Prof John McKendrick will be attending the next DiTPEW meeting. Prof McKendrick has recently been appointed as commissioner for widening access to Scotland's universities and will be joining us to discuss how our work might intersect
  • the group has agreed to discuss a submission on the Memorandum for Understanding on Entry into Initial Teacher Education to GTC Scotland, specifically on the admissibility of ESOL as an equivalent of SCQF Level 6 English for primary courses. Asif is currently forming a network of links across Scotland’s local authorities to enable support and engagement


  • no known risks currently


Annex C

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Equivalency for Entry into Initial Teacher Education


Currently, English at SQCF level 6 is a requirement for students who wish to enter Initial Teacher Education. For secondary teaching programmes, ESOL at SQCF level 6 is accepted as an equivalent. However, this is not the case for Primary programmes.
The requirement and equivalency are set out in the Memorandum of Understanding of Entry into Initial Teacher Education. The most recent refresh of this agreement was published in September 2019. 


We acknowledge that a number of our partners have recently made contact asking for this position to be reviewed, in order to make ESOL at SQCF level 6 an accepted equivalency for Primary ITE programmes. Some of the communication has been in relation to diversifying the teaching profession. ESOL equivalency has also been the subject of internal discussion within GTC Scotland. 

Moving forward

The Memorandum of Understanding of Entry into Initial Teacher Education is normally reviewed approximately every five years. This is done through engagement between GTC Scotland, partners in ITE, and other stakeholders who have an interest on the qualifications required by entrants into ITE.
We are now approaching the five-year point (in Autumn 2024) and GTC Scotland has identified ESOL equivalency as an area where we wish to engage partners in order to ascertain their views. 
The exact timing of the review is subject to planning and resource considerations, but we wish to start recording views on this matter in advance of the formal consultation so that, when that takes place, we have made a head start.
To this end, we would invite anyone who wishes to express a view on ESOL equivalence to write to GTC Scotland. This can be done by emailing

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