Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce Subgroup - minutes: December 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 13 December 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Selma Augestad, Chair, National Officer, Equality, EIS
  • Nuzhat Uthmani, Primary School Teacher
  • Professor Rowena Arshad, former Head of Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Professional Learning and Leadership (Race Equality), Education Scotland 
  • Sara Medel Jiménez, NASUWT
  • Scott Sutherland, Early Years and Childcare, Scottish Government
  • Andrea Reid, Glasgow City Council (attended part of the meeting)
  • Judith Ballantine Equalities in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Emma Bunting, Equalities in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Pauline Hendry, Equalities in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Angela Felvus, Education Workforce, Learning Directorate, Scottish Government


  • Stephanie Walsh, Education Workforce, Learning Directorate, Scottish Government
  • Navan Govender, Anti-Racist Educator
  • Yasmeen Hussain, SAMEE 
  • Judith Mohamed, Headteacher, Old Machar, Aberdeen
  • Victoria Smith, Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning, GTC Scotland
  • Simon Cameron, Employer’s team, COSLA

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Selma welcomed everyone to the meeting, she introduced Andrea Reid, Senior Education Officer at Glasgow City Council who will replace Maureen McKenna in these meetings once she retires. 

Update on actions from previous meeting

Selma went through the actions from the last meeting and gave an update on progress:

  • Yasmeen to offer alternative wording. (in relation to influence of group members within TOR) 
  • all group members to feedback comments or proposed changes by 28th September, appreciate coming back to Judith/Pauline asap (within next 7 days), so the TOR does not need to be revisited
  • Scott Sutherland to suggest wording for the Terms of Reference to reflect the incorporation of early learning and childcare
  • Mélina to offer wording for principles section to reflect the crossover between the work of the DITPEW and RRIB subgroups. – These actions were taken together, Selma advised that all comments were taken on board and had been incorporated in the final Terms of Reference
  • agreement was made that group members should further consider Annex a (actions) and provide feedback prior to next meeting – deadline date for further feedback/suggestions on current action plan by 28th September
  • Emma and Judith to break actions down further, circulate to members and allow for feedback offline ahead of a detailed discussion at the December meeting of the subgroup. – These comments would be covered under agenda item 4 of this meeting
  • Scott to meet with Judith and Emma to discuss further around Scottish Funding Council involvement. - Scott and Judith have had the conversation about SFC needing to be brought in to any action which extends or replicates the framework to ELC staff. SFC’s involvement will be built in to any ambitions which relate to ELC staff
  • SG data colleagues to look into whether it is possible to engage directly with university data teams and what the next steps would be
  • Emma to collate suggestions around additional data requirements and take to data group on 24 November. – To be covered under agenda item 2 of this meeting
  • members to let Emma know if they wish to be considered for the role of deputy chairperson. – No one has so far volunteered, the situation can be kept under review
  • Emma to send round calendar invites for next 6 months’ worth of meetings. Members to let Emma know if they have any requests regarding timing etc. – This has now been completed, members to contact Emma if they don’t have the invites

Feedback on data points raised at last meeting

Selma fed back to the group that it would be possible to gather most of the additional data that members had suggested and that this work would need to be scheduled with Scottish Government analytical services colleagues. 

Selma invited initial reflections on the paper from members. 

Members suggested that there were elements of the data that the group need to drill down into and understand the reasoning behind – e.g. the disproportionately high number of Black and minority ethnic individuals in supply posts and temporary contracts. They welcomed the addition of Andrea Reid to the group and flagged that working in partnership with ADES would be useful. 

Selma suggested that it might be helpful to ask SG analytical services colleagues to come back to the group in New Year, ahead of the next data publication, with a draft of that document for the group to consider. This would allow the subgroup to consider where there are gaps and what level of narrative they would like to see around the data. Members agreed that this was a good idea, they flagged that any progress, no matter how small, needs to be highlighted in order to engender positivity and enthusiasm.

The next data publication is provisionally scheduled for 07 April 2022. 

Action: Emma to invite SG analytical services colleagues to a meeting in Feb of the DITPEW subgroup to present a draft of the data publication. 

Discussion on subgroup actions

Selma introduced this item and then members were put into smaller breakout rooms to discuss the actions grid in some depth. Feedback from all groups is summarised below and incorporated into an update of the actions grid paper which will be distributed with this minute. 

General feedback

  • with some small amendments to wording, which have been incorporated into the updated paper, members were happy that the headline outcomes are now in a position to be shared with the Stakeholder Network Group meeting in January
  • members acknowledged that several of the actions would require some level of funding behind them, they are keen that a lack of funding does not become a barrier to progress
  • members are keen to see some reordering of the actions grid. This is reflected in the updated actions grid circulated with this minute
  • some thought to be given to who we consider to be action owners. There is a keenness to avoid simply working with the “usual suspects” and to make sure that we are reaching other organisations/individuals
  • consideration needs to be given to how the group’s actions overlap with those of other subgroups. For example is there room for a joint action with RRIB subgroup? 

National post: diversity in the teaching profession

  • some concern raised by members around the volume of work that the successful candidate will be expected to carry out. Must be mindful we don’t keep adding to their workload
  • the group was in broad agreement with the wording of outcome 1 and is happy to remove Maureen McKenna’s comment (“I would expect that the GTCS secondment would have a role in promoting the role of the teacher to young people at school, college and university so I don’t think there is a need for a separate action on that.”) based on the fact that the GTCS role is already a significant one, and promoting teaching as a career to young people will not be sole responsibility of the successful candidate
  • the group agreed to remove this sub-action: “Leading action, at a national and strategic level, to increase race diversity in the teaching profession” as the sense is that this is a description of the role rather than a specific action
  • the group suggested that the sponsorship action should move up the list and that a note should be added with the definition of the term sponsorship as it is defined in Professor Arshad’s DITP report
  • mentors/sponsors need to be better trained in order that they are racially literate. There is no point in saying that we will provide sponsorship if those providing it don’t understand the issues being faced by Black and minority ethnic teachers. Better, clearer guidelines required for mentors?
  • members felt that Skills Development Scotland (SDS) could have a role in working alongside the subgroup to support the post-holder

Action – Scott Sutherland to pick up with SDS about this as well as to find out what action was taken around posters that were previously developed. 

ITE and ELC training provision: national framework for racial diversity

  • in relation to the question around whether the framework should specifically mention race, members felt that it should, in order to be clear to where the focus is. Members expressed concern that SCDE need to take some ownership
  • members felt that there was a need to make sure that these actions are relevant for all (i.e. some ITE providers will be at a different stage on the journey). There is a role for the subgroup here
  • members felt that there was a need in this action to have explicit mention of career changers
  • identified that there is a need within this action to identify the key intervention points (e.g. colleges) 
  • on the issue of PGDE students who do not hold SCQF 6 level English and therefore have to undertake it at the same time as completing their PGDE, members asked whether there is a way of fast tracking English (and potentially maths) qualifications at e.g. Edinburgh College

Diversity data collection and publication

  • members felt that it would be helpful if the subgroup pulled out some headlines from the data (e.g. overrepresentation in supply and temp contracts) to drive forward on. Mindful that the data group have offered a great deal but in order to see change subgroup need to be focussing on a couple of key points to drive forward on
  • questions were raised around how we gather more robust data. Can additional stakeholders bring better data to the group?
  • members felt that there is a need for another action around who is gathering what data. However, this needs to be done in a meaningful, sensitive way, which does not see people re-telling their experiences. Perhaps work with trade unions, SAMEE etc to get case studies which can then be used
  • reflection from group that the data may lead to more questions than answers and as a result may require more specific actions (e.g. what support needs to be put in place to resolve certain issues)

Action: Once we have draft data, group to consider where we see progress (no matter how small). Looking for 2 or 3 headline things that are good and can be drawn out (e.g. even a small rise in minority ethnic teachers).

ITE provision: national framework for racial diversity

  • the group felt that this action worked more effectively as an output of action 2 (ITE and ELC training provision: National Framework for Racial Diversity)
  • it was agree that this action should include, and make reference to career changers. Members pointed out that work could be done with DWP to identify potential career changers. This had been done in other areas with a bonus scheme in place for those who moved to teaching as a career, members wondered if this could be an option for minority ethnic individuals. Acknowledged that incentives could be extended to cover other protected characteristics as well as diversity more widely (e.g. including getting women into sciences, men into primary teaching etc)
  • this needs to contain a reference to dismantling racism. No point in saying that we will make teaching more attractive to young minority ethnic people, without being explicit that doing so means dismantling racism. Need to make the explicit link between “making teaching more attractive and addressing the existing conditions”

Support the BME education workforce

  • the group felt that this action should be moved to the top of the list, so that it is number one
  • action around sponsorship is similar to the action under the National Post action, group suggested it should only be included here, with a reference to the GTCS post-holder as a driver
  • on sponsorship, members were clear that the action owners need to be those with power. minority ethnic networks certainly have a role to play but cannot be the sole drivers. Question around whether this would be for ADES to own?
  • second action, around ensuring that leaders are trained and equipped to recognise and address racism in all its forms, should have the SLPL workstream added as a driver
  • need to decide who the group mean by ‘leaders’
  • group feel that there may be a need for an action which links to the RRIB workstream and which is explicit in referencing bullied teachers

Recruitment and retention practices

  • members keen that this focus as much on supporting existing staff as bringing in new ones
  • consideration needs to be given here to what the output is – knowledge hub suggested. Must be mindful of what platform is used to ensure that it is user friendly
  • need to think about how any resource is distributed. SG Fair Work colleagues may have done something like this before and have some idea

Action: Emma to pick up with Fair Work colleagues to understand what they have done previously and see what, if anything, can be learnt from their experiences. 
Action: Emma to contact Andrea Reid to understand what, if anything, is already in place. 

  • some good work already being done. One member suggested work that Glasgow City Council are doing around having a pool of minority ethnic interviewers who can sit on interview panels. This has been positively received

Action: Nuzhat to send examples of good practice to the group. 

Any other business

Selma invited any other business from the group. None was raised. 

Selma advised that the next meeting of the DITPEW sub-group would be on Thursday 20 January 2022. 

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