Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce Subgroup - minutes: April 2022

Minutes from the group's meeting on 25 April 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Selma Augestad, Chair, National Officer, Equality, EIS
  • Nuzhat Uthmani, Primary School Teacher
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Professional Learning and Leadership (Race Equality), Education Scotland 
  • Professor Rowena Arshad, former Head of Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Asif Chishti, Senior Education Officer (National Race Diversity Lead), General Teaching Council Scotland
  • Navan Govendar, Anti-Racist Educator
  • Scott Sutherland, Early Years Workforce Team, Scottish Government
  • Judith Ballantine Equalities in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Emma Bunting, Equalities in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Pauline Hendry, Equalities in Education Team, Scottish Government


  • Judith Mohamed, Head teacher
  • Andrea Reid, Glasgow City Council and ADES
  • Lesley Whelan, Head of Professional Learning and Leadership, Education Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Selma welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted apologies. Yasmeen Hussain has given notice that she will be stepping away from the subgroup due to other commitments. Emma has spoken with Khadija from SAMEE and she has confirmed that she is working to identify an alternative SAMEE representative. 

Selma welcomed Asif Chishti to the group. Asif has recently joined the General Teaching Council for Scotland as the new Senior Education Officer (National Race Diversity Lead). He will now sit on this subgroup as the GTCS representative. 

Asif gave a short introduction. He has been a teacher for the past 18 years, initially in French and German in Fife Council. He then spent 3 years teaching in Malaysia. Asif was most recently Principal Teacher of modern languages at Dunfermline High School, with additional responsibility for supporting probationers. He was also a visiting specialist for Moray House, Edinburgh University, doing work with modern languages PGDE students.

Minutes and update on actions from the previous meeting

There were no comments on the minutes from the March meeting of the subgroup, as such these are considered to be finalised. 

Selma gave an update on the following actions:

  • Scott Sutherland to pick up with SDS to find out what action was taken around posters that were previously developed. Action closed, Scott confirmed that the posters are now available to be used, though he is still seeking clarity around how they are being actively promoted. The posters can be found here 
  • Emma to add reflection on BRL programme to June DITPEW agenda. Action remains open
  • Mélina to develop paper related to whole school approach that can be brought to the June DITPEW meeting. Remains open with amendment. Mélina clarified that her paper relates to the Building Racial Literacy Programme, and that she will bring this to the June meeting. She suggested that it may be worth bringing the Racism and Racist Incident’s subgroup’s skeleton document on the whole school approach to the June meeting – Emma to pick up with the RRI Subgroup workstream lead
  • GTCS to share bio/remit in post-holder and their role ahead of April meeting. Action closed
  • Emma to invite post-holder to April meeting. Action closed
  • Emma/Judith to pick up with Scott Sutherland about the potential for adding more around ELC to the group’s ITE framework action theme. Remains open
  • Emma to add ELC within framework action to agenda for May DITPEW meeting. Remains open
  • DITPEW members to comment on data publication by Thurs 31 March 2022. AND Members to reflect on and identify comms requirements and need for support alongside publication. – Actions closed

Action grid and milestones

Selma introduced this agenda item. She advised that the purpose of having this as a standing agenda item is to ensure that the document remains live and that members have the chance to continually reflect on the group’s actions and progress. Since the last meeting the table has been further populated, particularly with milestones, and shared with the Cabinet Secretary. Selma reiterated that the subgroup are mindful not to set timescales for other organisations/action owners. 

Members offered the below reflections:

Action theme 3

  • is it possible to get an update from each ITE provider as to what action they are taking to addressing the issue of underrepresentation? Understand that Khadija is working on a framework but is there work that can be done before we get this?
    • what about asking ITE institutions to conduct an audit that spans module design, staff development etc? 
    • can we learn anything from the work that Education Scotland are doing in schools – there is a sense that the work in that area is progressing at pace but that not much is changing in the ITE sector
    • one member noted that their sense is that this work is being led largely by individuals where there is already progress but that, at times, there is a risk that institutions misrepresent this progress as being institution wide
    • could there be a link here with the dissemination of the data report? In any communication with ITE institutions could the group ask what is being done to address the issues?
    • if data is being collected from IT institutions we need to think carefully about what info we are then asking for. In short we need to ensure that actions are attributed to the individuals undertaking them and are not inadvertently attributed to full institutions. Can we ask for evidence as part of that data collection - if institutions are claiming that goals are being met then what evidence is there for that (e.g. can we ask for the names of working groups etc)

Action theme 1

  • the subgroup agreed that there is a need to think about how it can encourage good practice
    • EIS are currently carrying out research that is essentially framed as asking Local Authorities “do you have any plans to address underrepresentation?” There has been a mixed response, from 26 Local Authorities, at this stage. Currently EIS are collating the feedback
    • there may be scope for ITE leaders to attend the Building Racial Literacy. This idea was well-received by members of the subgroup
    • Saima Salehjee at Strathclyde named as a possibility of someone that could be contacted about the good work they are already doing

Action: Subgroup members to identify individuals from an ITE setting that may wish to be engaged in cohort 2 or 3 of the Building Racial Literacy Programme. 

  • members highlighted that the word ‘bullying’ should be removed from action 1(c) and that it should be made clear that this relates to student staff, not just the permanent workforce 

Action: Emma to update action grid to remove ‘bullying’ from action 1(c) and broaden language to students coming in. 

Annual data publication - dissemination and communications

Selma introduced this agenda item, the purpose of which was to discuss how the report can be communicated and used. This includes identifying who needs to see the report and how we should expect them to engage with its findings. A number of bodies were initially identified including the general education workforce, ITE institutions, Local Authorities/RICS and the other REAREP working groups, ADES, parent groups etc. – note that this list is not exhaustive. 

Subgroup mindful that communication format will be different for each of these groups. Some suggestions given were; letters from the subgroup, posters/infographics, two-page summary etc. Members reiterated the need for a support document to sit alongside any communications. 

There was a recognition that the data report could be inaccessible to some people that we feel need to be aware of the message. Could consideration be given towards a poster/infographic that could be circulated? Feedback from Scottish Government colleagues was that we would need to think carefully about what the group wanted to see. Whilst there may be funding available for something like this it would need authorised by the Programme Board and Scottish Government Ministers. Alternatively it may be possible that Scottish Government comms colleagues could put together a simple infographic without any messaging within it. 

Action: Emma to speak to Scottish Government communications colleagues about the possibility of creating an accessible version of the headline data (e.g. infographic showing lifespan of a teacher and highlighting drop-off points/work to address these).

Subgroup members flagged the importance of the data reaching the workforce on the ground, given that there is a fundamental lack of understanding as to how significant the issue of underrepresentation is. There is a view that raising the profile of this data adds weight to the benefits of positive action to address lack of diversity. It was suggested that writing to all local authorities would achieve this. 

Any communications should explain that the issue is not just a central-belt one and should highlight the benefits of a racially diverse workforce, not just directly on Black and minority ethnic staff and children but in the wider context. 

Members suggested that there could be a link-up with the Moray House ‘Teaching in a Diverse Scotland’ speaker series. 

Members suggested that may wish to look into ways to increase the profile of the subgroup’s work, and the data within the report. Would there be the potential for engaging with a celebrity for example? Suggestions also included asking the young people who spoke at the launch of Rowena’s second report to speak, likewise some of the Show Racism the Red Card’s captains. 

Next steps – the data report will be published on the 6th May 2022. Emma has a meeting with Scottish Government communications colleagues tomorrow and will feedback to the group.

Action: Emma to meet with SG communications colleagues regarding comms for the data report. She will then feedback to the subgroup via email. 

Any other business

No AOB was raised. The next meeting of the subgroup will take place on the 17th May 2022 between 14:30 and 16:00. Khadija Mohammed will attend to speak to the work that she is doing for SCDE. 

Selma gently reminded members to please let the secretariat know if they will be unable to attend a meeting, this is to allow time to rearrange if necessary. 

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