Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce minutes: September 2023

Minutes from the group's meeting on 20 September 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Nuzhat Uthmani (Chair), Principal Teacher
  • Asif Chishti (Co-Chair), Senior Education Officer (National Race Diversity Lead), General Teaching Council Scotland
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Senior Education Officer, Equalities, Education Scotland 
  • Chereen Rain, Lead Specialist, Racial Literacy, Education Scotland
  • Kevin Brack, Lecturer in Educational Leadership, Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Selma Augestad, National Officer (Equality), EIS
  • Sara Medel Jiménez, NASUWT
  • Judith Mohamed, Head Teacher
  • Lesley Whelan, Head of Professional Learning and Leadership, Education Scotland
  • Pauline Hendry, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Judith Ballantine, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Emma Bunting, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government


  • Louise Barrett, SCDE
  • Marla Baird, Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Manager, SQA
  • Jehan Al-Azzawi, SAMEE
  • Andrea Reid, ADES

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Nuzhat welcomed members to the meeting and noted apologies as above. She introduced Chereen Rain to the group and advised that going forward Chereen will sit as a permanent Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce (DiTPEW) subgroup member. 

This meeting was held in a slightly different format to previous DiTPEW meetings. The focus being entirely on the DiTPEW’s response to the upcoming review of the General Teaching Council Scotland’s (GTCS) memorandum of understanding on entry requirements to the programmes of initial teacher education (ITE) in Scotland. 

Minutes and actions

There was one minor amendment made to the August minute, related to references to data publications. No further amendments were requested and as such the minute was agreed as final. 

Actions update:

  • Emma to liaise with Education Analysts to ask UCAS along to a future meeting. Action remains open. Emma has been liaising with education analysts and it is likely that UCAS will attend the October meeting of the group. Nuzhat suggested that members may wish to consider further exactly what they would like to get from UCAS’ attendance
  • members to send comments in writing on the theory of change. Action remains open. Nuzhat asked members for final submission of comments on the draft theory of change ahead of the October meeting. Following this the Secretariat will meet with Scottish Government analysts to discuss what the options are for next steps
  • Secretariat to circulate current memorandum of understanding and add discussion on DiTPEW response to its review to the September agenda. Action closed. Covered under agenda item 3
  • Secretariat to investigate discrepancies in Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education Report (MQuITE) data and to work with Scottish Government Teacher Workforce colleagues in relation to Dr. Kennedy potentially attending a future meeting of the DiTPEW. Action remains open. Emma agreed to speak with workforce colleagues ahead of the October meeting
  • Secretariat to speak with early learning and childcare (ELC) colleagues about their work related to diversifying the workforce and find out what data they are currently collecting. Action remains open. Emma to pick up with Scott Sutherland and colleagues about the ELC Workforce strategy and work towards diversifying the workforce
  • Co-chairs and Secretariat to invite chairs of other workstreams to meet and discuss areas of overlap and cooperation. Action remains open

DiTPEW response to memorandum of understanding on entry requirements into ITE

GTCS are currently in the process of reviewing their memorandum of understanding on entry requirements to programmes of ITE in Scotland. This takes place roughly once every five years, with the last MoU being published in 2019.

Asif updated members on the timeline for this review. There are two phases to the review:

Firstly, the formal engagement phase. This follows on from some informal engagement that has been taking place. The informal engagement has prompted some initial proposals for consideration and these have helped to inform the formal engagement phase, during which individuals, organisations and groups (such as the DiTPEW) will be asked a range of questions. These include:

  • what works well in the current MoU and should be kept
  • what would they like to see removed from the MoU
  • what would they like to see added to the MoU

Secondly the public consultation phase – Once a draft of the reviewed MoU has been agreed there will be a public consultation. This will take place in 2024. Following this redrafting will be undertaken based on the feedback from the public consultation. The new MoU will be enacted in time for the 2025/26 session for new entrants. 

DiTPEW members were split into breakout groups to consider the current MoU and initial considerations that GTCS have developed on the back of a series of informal engagement. Their reflections included:

  • members would like to see an overall strengthening of equality language within the MoU, this should link to all of the protected characteristics and not just to race. There is also a need for the language to be updated, for example references to unconscious bias are outdated
  • it would be good to see reference to Scottish Council of Deans of Education’s (SCDE) anti-racism framework for ITE, particularly in the section that talks about addressing barriers and bias in the applications process 
  • members reflected that the section on “skills, attributes and disposition of a teacher” is quite exclusionary and could potentially be interpreted as though an individual should be born and raised in Scotland. It would be useful to reflect on and articulate the skills and values that a person born outside of Scotland could bring to the classroom and to the profession
  • members are pleased to see an initial proposal that English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) will be considered to be equivalent to English for both primary and secondary teaching
  • members agreed that the minimum requirement for a degree qualification should be maintained to ensure the continuation of standards
  • a clear link to the values expected of a teacher entering the profession would be helpful, members reflected that this may be broader than the existing professional values and standards
  • there is currently a sense of hierarchy of qualifications, with college degrees excluded. Might be better to have general references to Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels. Members reflected that this aligns well with the recommendations in the Hayward review related to SCQF language
  • there may be scope to use some of the language from within the anti-racist curriculum principles. For example “educators and leaders will reflect upon their assumptions and biases, their racial and social identities and those of others. They will consider the impact that these have on professional practice”
  • members felt that in terms of modern languages teaching there should not be a requirement for a degree in that language, this has the unintended consequence of acting as a barrier to native speakers of that language, would a language ability test be more appropriate? Members would also like clarity on what constitutes a modern language and whether it is representative

Action: Secretariat to circulate padlet used for feedback on MoU Review alongside September minute. The padlet will remain open until 13 October 2023. 

Any other business

Update on Asif’s role

Asif advised members that he is now permanent within GTCS.

Freedom of Information (FOI) Request

The Secretariat advised that an FOI request for the minutes of all of the Anti-Racism in Education Programme’s working groups has been received and formally responded to. The Secretariat also told members that the formal minutes will shortly be published on the Scottish Government’s website alongside the newly developed frequently asked questions document. 

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