Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce Subgroup: July 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 1 July 2021


Attendees and apologies

Present

  • Selma Augestad, (Chair), National Officer, Equality, EIS
  • Professor Rowena Arshad, former Head of Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Simon Cameron, Employers’ Team, COSLA
  • Nuzhat Uthmani, Primary School Teacher
  • Dr Pauline Smith, Chief Executive, GTCS
  • Navan Govender, Anti-Racist Educator
  • Murid Laly, Intercultural Youth Scotland
  • Yasmeen Hussain, SAMEE
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Professional Learning and Leadership (Race Equality), Education Scotland
  • Judith Ballantine, Equalities in Education Team, Learning Directorate, SG
  • Stephanie Walsh, (attended for part of the meeting) Education Workforce, Learning Directorate, SG
  • Siân Balfour, (Secretariat) Equalities in Education Team, Learning Directorate, SG

Apologies

  • Judith Mohamed, Headteacher, Old Machar, Aberdeen
  • Khaleda Noon, Chief Executive, Intercultural Youth Scotland
  • Victoria Smith, Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning, GTCS
  • Maureen McKenna, ADES/Director of Education, Glasgow City Council

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Selma welcomed everyone to the group and invited members to introduce themselves, provide some background and set out their interest in this area of work.

Overview/scene setting

Selma gave a recap of the work to date and some of the statistics relating to Diversity in the Teaching Profession, particularly for those not already on the larger Stakeholder Network Group:

  • the report Teaching in a Diverse Scotland - increasing and retaining minority ethnic teachers, was published in November 2018, commissioned by the Strategic Board for Teacher Education
  • the working group that the report led to has influenced and put Race Equality in Education within Scotland firmly on the agenda
  • at the time of the publication of the report, 1.4% of teachers identified as being from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds, compared to 4% of the Scottish population
  • the most recent data for 2020 shows only slight change to 1.7% and even starker figures for Black and minority ethnic representation in promoted posts
  • approximately 200 additional minority ethnic teachers would need to be recruited into the workforce each year from August 2022 to 2030 inclusive, to reach a target of 4%, which illustrates the magnitude of the challenge
  • the 4% figure is based on the 2011 Census and may need to be adjusted once the Census 2022 details are published
  • the 2021 concluding report of the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group saw a number of recommendations, which will be taken on by the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Stakeholder Group, advised by this subgroup in particular

Judith Ballantine then provided a brief overview of the wider Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme (REAREP), of which this subgroup is part and how we got to where we are now:

  • as part of the Scottish Government’s response to the correspondence received on the Black Lives Matter movement, Learning Directorate, in conjunction with the Equality Unit and Education Scotland carried out a number of engagement sessions with race equality and education stakeholders, minority ethnic groups, individuals and young people
  • the Programme consists of a small internal Programme Board which oversees a larger Stakeholder Network Group, with representation from a broad range of race equality and education stakeholders
  • the Programme provides a strategic and coherent approach to the key /themes identified for reform by education and race equality stakeholders. These are:
    • school leadership and professional learning – ensuring that Scotland’s educators are confident and empowered to promote equality, foster good relations and identify, prevent and pro-actively deal with racism
    • diversity in the teaching profession and education workforce – ensuring we have a teaching and education workforce that reflects the diversity of Scotland’s communities
    • curriculum reform – creating a curriculum that is inclusive, that recognises Scotland’s colonial past, respects the identities of young people and supports them to reach their potential
    • racism and racist incidents - embedding a culture of positive action to address incidents of racism in schools. This will include the provision of revised guidance, support for effective practice and an improved approach to recording and monitoring of incidents
  • the Stakeholder Network Group (SNG) has met five times so far to discuss, develop and agree the overarching aims and actions for each of the four themes outlined above.  Subgroups are now being established, for the four workstreams (linked to the themes identified above) to drive forward the agreed actions
  • the intention is that the subgroups will report back to the main SNG monthly to take forward actions and demonstrate progress
  • working across all four subgroups will be key to ensuring coherence and avoiding duplication. Mélina will sit on all four subgroups to provide that important read across

Terms of reference

Vision statement/purpose

Discussion took place around the overarching aim included in the distilled paper following the discussion by the Stakeholder Network Group in April. There was a general view that it still needs refining to fully capture all the aims of this subgroup, including:

  • be clearer about what we mean “at all levels”, i.e. does that mean janitorial staff, clerical etc.
  • the phrase “the community it serves” could potentially be used as justification for not engaging with this agenda by local authorities with less diverse populations
  • it needs to capture more than just numbers of teachers in the profession, it needs to be clear that it’s also about providing supporting to Black and minority ethnic teachers already in the profession
  • we need to reflect intersectionality and the diversity within different Black and minority ethnic groups
  • this work will contribute to altering attitudes and awareness of society
  • instead of the term “education workforce” consider using an alternative collective such as “everyone working in the education sector” or “education community”

It was still felt overall that the vision needs to be short and focused, and that further detail can sit in accompanying statements.

Rowena suggested alternative wording for a vision for the group - “Scotland's education staff, at all levels, reflects and supports the racial diversity of contemporary Scotland, thereby enriching the education experience for the whole school population”

Actions:

  • Sian will re-work the vision and create some accompanying statements, based on these discussions and re-circulate for further comment
  • Sian will draft a Terms of Reference for agreement and sign-off at the next meeting

Key Responsibilities

Selma referred the group to the actions that were in the distilled paper, which were agreed following the wider stakeholder group discussions. She reminded members that these would be the central driver for the work of the group going forward. There were some general comments offered, particularly as some members were inputting into these actions for the first time – comments relating to the actions were as follows:

  • Murid raised the point that we need to link the work of this group to the racism and racist incidents group – if young people of colour don’t have a good experience in school we are going to find it difficult to engage them with the idea of teaching as a career. Asking for additional data from Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers on dropout rates (at whatever stage) is unlikely to demonstrate that the underpinning reason for so many Black and minority ethnic people not pursuing a teaching career is their own experience as pupils in the classroom. Mélina is happy to raise and take this forward in her cross sub-group role.
  • Nuzhat suggested developing a pool of Black and minority ethnic teachers who could engage with potential students at S3 and above to build mentorship or just a sense of a positive role model for young people.
  • an issue unlikely to emerge as part of data gathering in relation to ITE take-up/drop off among Black and minority ethnic groups, is the way in which ITE providers present and explain teacher recruitment processes to potential Black and minority ethnic students/candidates. Some approaches can create barriers and result in a lack of engagement with the prospect of teaching as a career – Yasmin suggested digging deeper into the issues e.g. funding of post graduate diploma in education (PGDE)s or even 1st year Undergraduates, as financial pressures can often be a deterrent for someone giving up their job to go in to teaching. Data from ITE providers clearly demonstrating at what stage of the process drop out happens would provide a far greater understanding of where the barriers are.
  • Selma shared that the EIS has decided to investigate the recruitment practices of local authorities as they pertain to Black and minority ethnic staff, and that findings will be shared with this group.

Subgroup membership

The group were asked to consider the current subgroup membership and asked if there were any individuals or organisations who could support and drive our actions.

Simon suggested representatives from ADES HR and also the Society of Personnel and Development Scotland. Mélina asked whether anyone from NASUWT had been invited to be part of the group. Sian explained that they hadn’t specifically expressed an interest, but that they can still feed in and will be involved in discussions around progress via the larger SNG though happy to take nominations.

Sian confirmed that Maureen McKenna will provide ADES representation.

Actions:

  • Sian to table an item on agenda for next meeting to conclude discussions and agree a finalised set of actions/outputs
  • Sian will follow-up with Simon and Mélina on their other suggestions for the subgroup
  • members of the subgroup can email further suggestions for organisations that should be represented to Sian prior to the next meeting
  • Mélina will raise the link highlighted by Murid around young people’s experience at the racism and racist incidents subgroup, of which she is a member

Draft job remit for a new national post

Following the recommendation in the report Teaching in a Diverse Scotland - increasing and retaining ethnic teachers in Scotland's schools - 3 years on  around the creation of a new national post, a draft job remit had been circulated in advance to help start discussion on what the post might look like.

There was a view that the first draft of the role specification was too broad and potentially exceeded what one individual could realistically achieve. Pauline from GTCS suggested that the following points should be worked through in the first instance, order to obtain clarity:

  • What does the post look like?
  • Who is the post accountable to?
  • What do we want the successful post holder to achieve?
  • What do we want the post itself to achieve – what should its legacy be?
  • Who do we want the successful post-holder to engage with, and how do we want them to build those relationships in order to achieve the post’s overarching aims and ambitions?
  • How will the post align to the subgroup’s vision statement?

Judith committed to arranging an early meeting with the GTCS, after which a revised version of the job remit will then be shared for further comment.

It was noted that Diversity Officer role, funded through the West Partnership prior to the pandemic, might have some parallels that we can draw on.

Actions:

  • Judith to arrange an early meeting with the GTCS around the governance arrangements surrounding the new national post. A revised version of the job remit will then be shared for further comment following this meeting
  • Nuzhat to try and obtain a copy of the job description for the West Partnership Diversity Officer

AOB and close

Selma thanked everyone for the time and contribution. A date and time for the next meeting will be circulated in due course.

Summary of meeting actions:

  1. Sian to revise the vision with accompanying statements and actions based on discussions and recirculate for further comment
  2. Sian will draft a Terms of Reference for agreement and sign-off at the next meeting
  3. Sian to table an item on the next meeting’s agenda to conclude discussions and agree a finalised set of actions/outputs
  4. Judith to arrange an early meeting with the GTCS around the governance arrangements surrounding the new national post. A revised version of the job remit will then be shared for further comment following this meeting
  5. Sian to follow-up with Simon and Mélina on their suggestions for other members for the group (All members of the subgroup can email further suggestions for organisations that should be represented, to Sian prior to the next meeting)
  6. Mélina will raise the link highlighted by Murid around young people’s experience at the Racism and Racist Bullying subgroup, of which she is a member
  7. EIS is about to embark on research in to recruitment practices - Selma will feed the outcome of this research back in to the group. Simon asked if this will involve direct engagement with local authorities. Selma agreed to speak to Simon separately around the process and method to be used
  8. Nuzhat to try and obtain a copy of the job description for the West Partnership Diversity Officer
  9. Sian to send meeting request for next meeting in August
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