Curriculum Reform Subgroup - minutes: May 2022

Minutes of the group's meeting on 19 May 2022.

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Khadija welcomed all to the sixth meeting of the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Curriculum Reform SubGroup. 

Apologies were received from Munibah, Crisantos and Rosy, Theo, Asif, Stuart, Michael, Sadia, Pavi, Lewis, Titi, Katie, Laura-Ann, Lynne, Hazel.

Khadija advised that the focus of this meeting would be the revised recommendations with priorities and actions identified and opportunities for members to discuss and share their views. There would also be updates relating to the wider programme and to work attached to our Group – specifically the Curriculum Framework Review and Design Group.

Minutes from last meeting and updates on actions

Jovan welcomed any comments on the note of the previous meeting noting that agreeing wording with Pavi remains in progress.

No comments were received and comments by email were welcomed following the meeting.

Update from Scottish Government, Education Scotland and Scottish Qualifications Authority - opportunity for questions and comments

Slides covering the Children and Young People’s Group and brief updates on the work of the other workstreams were shared.

In response to the updates Peter advised that the information in relation to the Diversity in the Education Profession report had been noted by ADES and an acknowledgement that a lot more had to be done to improve the position. 

Annette provided a verbal update from SQA advising that they had appointed a consultant – Angela Rodney Evans - to support their internal antiracism work and that Monica Medina had been appointed to the Race Equality and Antiracism Research and Policy post.

Curriculum reform - emerging recommendations and priorities

Jovan introduced this session which outlined the progress that had taken place in refining the SubGroup’s recommendations.

SubGroup Chairs and Secretariat (Khadija, Jovan, Laura) met on 5 May to assess a range of information and views with the aim of identifying a smaller number of key priorities and associated lead organisations, action required, funding required and the role of the SubGroup. Discussions were informed by:

  • previous SubGroup discussions collectively and at small-group level
  • members’ feedback on priorities by email
  • members’ input to open-space discussion forum on 4 May

All those that had contributed and assisted with the process were thanked. Paper 6.3 set out the suggested priority recommendations, proposals for moving forward and overarching principles that should guide the design and implementation. Jovan and Khadija presented to the Group identifying where the recommendations had changed and why, and the associated role for the SubGroup against them.

It was highlighted that member views were vital and that small-group discussions would follow to consider this. Notes from the discussions are noted in the Annex.

Overall there was consensus that the right recommendations had been highlighted and the revised wording reflected a more purposeful approach. Links with the other workstreams were highlighted as critical. Work would progress to add substance and additional planning to the recommendations for discussion at the next meeting.

Curriculum framework review and design group

The following update was provided:

  • six meetings of the Review and Design Group had taken place so far
  • initial discussions explored some of the detail in the curriculum framework documents that required attention eg the Refreshed Curriculum Narrative, the Building the Curriculum suite of documents, subject Experiences and Outcomes (Es and Os)
  • consensus that a step was missing to establish a framework to guide and focus considerations
  • the Group have created draft principles that seek to support and inform the design and delivery of an antiracist curriculum
  • these are currently being finalised and will be shared with ‘critical friends’ for initial views and will be further refined following discussion
  • the further version will be shared at the next meeting of the SubGroup on 30 June where we hope that members of the Review and Design Group will present and lead discussion

Planning for next meeting

It was agreed that meeting seven, scheduled for 30 June, should focus on: 

  • outputs from Curriculum Framework Review and Design Group
  • action and funding for progressing and implementing priority recommendations
  • working with the Children and Young People Group 
  • an update from Hakim on his ongoing work on behalf of the SubGroup

Annex A - break out discussions

The following points were made in discussion:

  • overall agreement that the key recommendations were the right ones; that they were reflective of discussions and, if genuinely implemented, would be impactful
  • next steps would be to add substance to the plans identifying the roles of key players such as local authorities and to introduce timelines, milestones, funding etc
  • there was discussion on the different approaches and stages of local authorities and the need to articulate expectations and opportunities. Also a reflection that the Lead role would be able to add purpose and momentum to driving recommendations forward
  • the good practice emerging in some quarters was highlighted, and an anticipation of the work that Hakim was developing on behalf of the SubGroup to capture that
  • welcome progress in SQA was noted as well as a hope that those schools and educators at the progressive end of designing antiracist curricula would be engaged with the assessment process to ensure alignment
  • concern was expressed about the accreditation proposal and the potential for presentational achievements without the substance that underpinned it. There was reassurance that these reservations had been raised by many people and that alternative ways of raising the profile, harnessing excellence in schools, and supporting continuous improvement would be sought
  • important to ensure that the Racism and Racist Incidents whole-school approach works well with the Curriculum Framework – avoid flooding the system with guidance and ensure key messages works
  • need to ensure that the training and development for Inspectors matches the training and development offered to schools and practitioners. Need to think about proper sequencing
  • inspections should give space for the learning journey – perhaps in conjunction with the accreditation process?
  • acknowledge that actions of this subgroup are co-dependent on other workstreams and different elements of the education system (workforce training, RICs, etc.)
  • agreement that the focus should be on every subject, not just social studies and PSE
  • make sure that these priority areas don’t remain the only ones. What will come after these?
  • re resources proposals – agree there needs a separate working group, made of teachers especially
  • plea to be more active and creative with communications (e.g. Twitter) to get the message out
  • importance of contextualising resources – ensuring they can be used across all settings including CLD, primary, secondary, early years
  • regarding a lead national post - tension between a ‘central-lead’, top-down, approach and the responsibility of every educator in the system to take this forward
  • resources developed nationally has strengths as an approach and will be valued by busy teachers but we also need to harness the good working going on already in settings
  • sense that there is scope to develop the ES website to meet the needs of wider audiences
  • parent / carer section could include a reporting function – suggestion. Could also do user research with parents to capture the reasons people might go to this website and build content around that. Wondered whether a common reason for parents accessing this site is when they have a problem or if something has gone wrong. Consider this in resources we put on the parents’ section
  • consider that other self-evaluation frameworks are relevant too –e.g. HGIOCLD. Importance of family learning
  • shouldn’t need an inspection to ensure that everyone takes forward this work… but we understand the reasons for this and how it will help
  • discussed whether this is about inspectors’ own knowledge and understanding, the emphasis they put on Anti-Racist work during inspections in settings, or both?
  • an example from practice led to a discussion about the role of inspection in supporting effective Child Protection approaches and the confidence and racial literacy educators need
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