Curriculum Reform Subgroup - minutes: August 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 23 August 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Jovan Rao Rydder, Deputy Chair, Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS)
  • Carol Young, Deputy Director, Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER)
  • Nuzhat Uthmani, Primary Teacher, Glasgow City Council
  • Munibah Ghani, Biology Teacher, Holyrood Secondary 
  • Titilayo Farukuoye, Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS)
  • Crisantos Ike, MSYP, Rutherglen
  • Victory Ekpekurede, MSYP, East Kilbride 
  • Hakim Din, Education and race consultant
  • Sadia Hussain-Savuk, Biology Teacher, Dollar Academy
  • Asif Chishti, Educational Institue of Scotland (EIS)
  • Sara Medel Jiménez, STUC Black Workers Committee + Spanish Teacher 
  • Katie Hunter, History Teacher, St Thomas of Aquin’s High School
  • Pavithra Sarma, Anti-racism consultant and Co-founder, Scottish Anti-Racism Education 
  • Matthew Sweeney, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Peter McNaughton, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland
  • Michael Roach, Head of Education, Inverclyde Council
  • Frank Thomson, Community Learning and Development Managers Scotland (CLDMS)
  • Annette Foulcer, Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
  • Denise Dunlop, Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
  • Nahid Aslam, NASWUT

MSYP Support

  • Chelsey Clay, Scottish Youth Parliament 

Scottish Government Learning Directorate

  • Zarina Naseem, Curriculum Unit
  • Laura Ross, Curriculum Unit – Lead Secretariat
  • Stuart Downes, Support and Wellbeing

Education Scotland

  • Jacqui Nimmo, Senior Education Officer, Inclusion, Wellbeing and Equalities
  • Lynne Robertson, Social Studies Curriculum Senior Education Officer
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Professional Learning and Leadership (+ Anti-Racist Educator)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Jovan welcomed all to the first meeting of the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Curriculum Reform SubGroup (‘the Group’), introduced his role as Deputy Chair and invited members to introduce themselves. 

Apologies were received from Khadija Mohammed, Lewis Hou, Fiona Nicholson, Jim Metcalfe, Danielle Faakor Damptey and Danny Boyle. Nahid Aslam attended in place of Kal Hussain.

In welcoming Group members, Jovan recognised the responsibility, challenges and expectations ahead and highlighted the considerable expertise, passion and lived experience ‘round the table’. It was noted that for those members that have been part of the Stakeholder Network and previous engagement sessions that valuable discussion had taken place so far and that there was an appetite to move to actions and recommendations to effect the change that we want to see.

The importance of taking time at the outset to find a shared way of working that exemplifies the values and principles of the Group was noted and that we should individually and collectively stay aware of the sort of the space that we want to create and how to ensure we maintain that. Clarity around purpose, language, principles, ways of working and what we aim to achieve over the coming months would be the focus of the discussions at the first meeting and something that would be referred back to often. The Terms of Reference paper would start that conversation and would be refined to reflect Group discussion. Lots of work to do but spending time getting the framework right and agreed should support discussions and considerations going forward. 

Terms of reference - who we are, what we are doing and how we will do it

The Group had received a draft Terms of Reference paper and a further paper, tabled, on additional principles and how language can support and frame our work.

Jovan outlined the purpose of the documents, the importance of spending time on this and welcomed comments.

It was noted that the a commitment to representation should be demonstrated through ensuring that Black people were on the SubGroup, as well as other racialised identities.

It was suggested that those identified with lived experience to be involved should be extended include to parents and the wider community.

There was overall agreement on the content of the paper but written comments will be welcomed and consideration will be given to whether further discussion at the next meeting would be useful.

Action: Secretariat to update the Terms of Reference and circulate.

Action: Chairs and Secretariat to consider the point raised about representation and follow up and feedback.

Membership and meeting schedule

Zarina (in place of the Chair) advised that discussion with Group members and the Secretariat over the summer had provided valuable opportunities to set out the genesis of the Group with new members and review the activity and process so far with members drawn from the Stakeholder Network. Overall members are committed to and are enthusiastic about where the discussions had reached and very keen to move to the action-orientated phase.

An outline of key points raised is in the Background, Priorities and Draft Workplan paper for awareness. 


There will be opportunities to bring in individuals and organisation representatives for specific discussions that require expertise. At present keen to cap the numbers unless there is an obvious omission in skills and experience that needs addressed.

Meeting schedule

Meeting dates to June 2022 will be sent as diary requests and an outline of how priorities might be mapped to those meetings was discussed.

Zarina posed questions regarding the proposed priorities and plans to address them, including a suggestion that smaller focused groups be required for the two main pieces of work on the curriculum framework and resources to support an anti-racism curriculum. 

Members were supportive of the outline plans and made the following points in discussion:

  • this is a massive and ambitious programme of work. Can we narrow down what we’re trying to achieve? Even within the definition of the curriculum? Focus on the Experiences and Outcomes, Inter-Disciplinary Learning, and what does success look like?
  • there is an opportunity to link with larger reform work underway in education, specifically the OECD review and reform of the SQA, Education Scotland etc provides opportunity to join up and ensure that this is no longer a ‘bolt on’ but embedded in reform
  • there was support for suggestion of additional subgroups in relation to the main work to be undertaken
  • there is good work underway in some areas with Experiences and Outcomes being reviewed already in schools. Can we scope and review good practice? 
  • importance of communicating with teaching progression and opportunity for engagement and two-way communication
  • the Broad General Education (s1-3) Experiences and Outcomes are very broad and specific mention of diverse content only appears in senior phase (s4-6)
  • there is interesting work on curriculum design and content in England that would be good to know more about
  • key issue - how does every school take this forward and how do we make sure it is happening?
  • importance of Community Learning and Development and youth work perspective. Where does learning take place? Not just timing of school day but where young people learn that aren’t spending time in school for some reason.
  • importance of accessible language and challenges of complex discussion which is an issue for young people to engage with.
  • how the role of educator + role of curriculum interact – create space to explore that, ideally with the Processional Learning SubGroup
  • request for clarity around the curriculum framework
  • role of curriculum mapping exercise being led by Education Scotland – in its early stages with Glasgow practitioners supporting development. A website will shortly be launched focused on the Education Scotland overview of race equality and anti-racism that is updated to reflect discussion and activity from the Group and include curriculum mapping output
  • regarding the creation of curriculum resources for learners and teachers – without support on how to use it, training etc, lack of confidence and understanding will undermine efforts. Vital to show staff what to do and how to do it
  • importance of early years (including pre-birth/maternity services)
  • fear of talking about race and acknowledging racism within the teaching profession. Challenge of personal views required to create change
  • a sense that we all agree what we want. Hard bit is how to do it. We need change in every classroom – how? strategy? Can we narrow down what we’re doing and what success looks, sounds and feels like?
  • this programme of work is for all learners – must keep a focus on that.
  • young people’s voices are paramount to system change – need to ensure meaningful involvement
  • anti-racism should have the same profile within health and wellbeing as mental health
  • change that has enough force and momentum to “sweep everyone along” is required, it can’t be an option only for those that choose to

Draft vision

Members agreed that the draft vision, with the addition of “past and present” captured the aims and ambitions for the SubGroup, covers the priorities and establishes clear need for change. A further query over whether ‘practitioner’ captured the importance of the whole-school or early years community was raised with agreement from members that this should be considered and revised for comment.

“Scotland’s schools and early learning environments will promote and embed racial equity, anti-racism and global citizenship through its systems, leadership and curriculum. All of our learners and practitioners will benefit from a curriculum, culture and ethos that reflects the diversity of the early years school community, Scotland and the wider world. 

The role of Scotland and the UK in colonial history and the impact it has on the modern world will feature in teaching and learning to ensure our young people have an understanding and awareness of the British Empire and colonialism, including slavery and other human rights violations, past and present.”

Action: Secretariat to revise the vision and circulate for comment/sign off.

Update from Scottish Government and Education Scotland

The following updates were provided:

  • Laura provided information on Ministerial and media plans to launch the Education Scotland resource alongside valuable new anti-racism toolkits and guidance from CRER and ScotDec. The commitment to establish a young people shadow group remained and the processes to make that happen were underway – updates would follow
  • Mélina outlined her role as member of all four programme subgroups with the ability to bring together key themes and priorities and help facilitate good communication between the Groups
  • Jacqui provided an update from Education Scotland on the publication of their Overview of Race Equality and Anti-Racism document and the ongoing curriculum mapping and other activity to engage and support practitioners

Planning for next meeting

There was agreement that the next meeting should begin to focus on the curriculum framework and where opportunities and challenges exist that require attention.

The meeting will also look again and the Terms of Reference (including vision) and Principles and Language paper to further refine and sign off if possible.

Any other business or reflections and close

Jovan welcomed comments from all members on points from the agenda or any points that ‘didn’t fit’ but were important to share.

Jovan elevated a couple of points – the importance of getting into action and the Group shifting to that mode and the need to keep reflecting and engaging with the process itself to ensure that we live up to principles of including Black and People of Colour and especially young people. There was a commitment to reshape the space to ensure that we are living our principles throughout the activity of the Group.

Katie advised of statistics that would be published by the Historical Association and would contain some comparative figures on diversity of history teaching in schools in England and Scotland.

It was noted that it was great to be thinking positively and enthusiastically with such a focus on moving forward and effecting change. Members were thanked for their positive contributions and commitment.

The next meeting will be Thursday 7 October 3.45-5.30pm.

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