Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce Subgroup - minutes: January 2023

Minutes from the group's meeting on 23 January 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, Professional Learning and Leadership (Race Equality), Education Scotland 
  • Selma Augestad, National Officer, Equality, EIS
  • Louise Barrett, SCDE
  • Kevin Brack, Lecturer in Educational Leadership, Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Judith Mohamed, Head Teacher
  • Navan Govender, Anti-Racist Educator 
  • Andrea Reid, Glasgow City Council and ADES
  • Sara Medel Jiménez, NASUWT
  • Keya Raksith, Workforce Planning, Scottish Government
  • Katherine Ross, Fair Work, Scottish Government
  • Emma Bunting, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Pauline Hendry, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Judith Ballantine, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government


  • Simon Cameron, COSLA
  • Lesley Whelan, Head of Professional Learning and Leadership, Education Scotland
  • Zemeta Chefeke, SAMEE
  • Scott Sutherland, Early Learning and Childcare, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Nuzhat welcomed everyone to the first meeting of 2023 and commented upon the good work done by the group in 2022. She introduced Katherine Ross, from the Scottish Government’s Fair Work team, who attended the meeting to speak to the newly published Anti-Racist Employment Strategy (a copy of which has been issued alongside this minute). 

Minutes and update on actions from the previous meeting

There were no comments to the minutes from the fourteenth meeting of the subgroup and as such those minutes were agreed as final. 

Actions update:

  • secretariat to organise a small group to take forward organisation of the DYW session. Pauline Hendry spoke to this action. A small working group, made up of members of this subgroup as well as a range of educators, will be meeting on the 26 January 2023 and Pauline will bring a further update to the group at the February meeting
  • Asif to follow up with university ethics committees around ethical data collection processes. – Asif to pick up with Navan. Remains open, Asif to update further at the February meeting
  • Emma to speak to data colleagues about why there isn’t an “other” category in census for minority ethnic other. Remains open, Emma awaiting feedback and will update at February meeting
  • Emma Bunting to recirculate Hayward Review response for comment. Closed, action complete. Responses to the Hayward review were submitted formally by the Anti-Racism in Education Programme (AREP) secretariat by the deadline of 13 January 2023 

Action: Secretariat to circulate AREP response to Hayward Review to DiTPEW members for information.

Presentation on the Scottish Government's anti-racist employment strategy

Nuzhat invited Katherine Ross to speak to the group about the Scottish Government’s new Anti-Racist Employment Strategy.

Action: Secretariat to circulate Katherine’s slide and accompanying documents with the January minute. 

The Anti-Racist Employment Strategy was published alongside a refreshed version of the Fair Work Action Plan. At the heart of the document is the issue of recognising the existence and scale of institutional racism. When referring to an anti-racist employment strategy this means proactively changing policies that embed institutional racism. The approach taken within the strategy focusses on four key themes: 

  • data collection processes
  • bias within recruitment practices
  • lack of understanding of systemic issues related to race and racism
  • existing equality policy falling short of addressing specific issues related to racial inequality

There is a measurements framework due to be published later this year and this will include a variety of indicators, including some that already exist and others that need to be developed, pay-gap data and employment gap data. There will be a need to commission new surveys.


  • members raised the strategy’s commitment to developing guidance for employers on using positive actions. They commented that this guidance is desperately needed and that the group are keen to be involved in developing it. . At present there is a range of guidance and legal advice available to different Local Authorities and it causes significant confusion. Katherine suggested that discussions relating to positive actions at present focus upon the tie-breaker situation, whereby if an employer is presented with two candidates of identical quality then the role should be given to the person with the protected characteristic. Members flagged that this so rarely occurs that it’s actually a bit of a red-herring and that the guidance needs to cover more ‘every-day’ questions and situations that employers will find themselves in
  • members asked if there will be anything within the guidance that reflects the impact of trauma and the link between inequality and mental health and wellbeing. Katherine advised that they have been in touch with colleagues who lead on trauma informed policy. One of the actions stemming from the Fair Work Action Plan is the creation of a centralised resource hub. The details are still to be agreed however there will be a link to racism and the impact on mental health
  • members were encouraged that the onus within the strategy is placed on employers and not upon employees and that it is not using a deficit model. They reflected that even following the recommendations made in Professor Arshad’s ‘Teaching in a Diverse Scotland’ reports there has been a reluctance by employers to take action. They wondered how messaging will be addressed in the strategy. Katherine reiterated that there will be an accompanying measurements framework and that this should ensure that employer progress is more transparent and establishes a baseline. The team will be making clear progress updates and there will be an expectation that outcomes be reported. There will be a requirement for explicit references of meaningful action to be made when applying for funding
  • members reflected that a key issue for this group’s work is the lack of ethnicity data disclosure. They asked whether there will be any advice offered to employers on how to ensure increased disclosure, accuracy and quality of data. Katherine advised that there will be technical guidance issued. Stakeholders who informed development of the strategy are working with CEMVO on the issue of data capture

Action: Emma to pick up with Katherine Ross and identify where there are links between her work and that of the DITPEW.

Anti-racism in education summit - March 2023

Nuzhat invited Judith Ballantine to outline to the group progress towards organising an anti-racism in education summit for March 2023. 

Judith advised the group that Joe Griffin, Scottish Government’s Director General for Education and Justice, has taken a keen interest in this work. The summit is planned for 21 March which is the UN Annual Day for Ending Racial Discrimination. Some early thinking has been done with the Chair of the AREP, Khadija Mohammed, Prof Rowena Arshad, GTCS and Glasgow City Council. The summit could be used as a platform for key education stakeholders to sign up to a commitment that their organisation will become anti-racist by a certain, potentially 12 months after the summit when there would be a follow-up event. . 

Judith said that it would be helpful to talk about whether a universal commitment is the best way forward or whether we should consider having slightly different commitments for different bodies. One suggestion that has been made is that each of the 4 subgroups identify a commitment that aligns with their work – for this group perhaps something around recommitting to the 2030 target? Judith said that it would also be useful to discuss what type of support should be developed to help organisations to meet their commitment(s). 


  • members reflected positively, saying that the idea of a summit and of key people coming together and making a commitment is really important. Regarding the 2030 target, there was a suggestion that we ask organisations to have a plan in place to meet that target, Asif suggested that it would fall within his remit to offer support in achieving this
  • members were keen to emphasise that being an ‘anti-racist organisation’ is not a binary thing and is something to aim for, not something that can be ‘switched-on’ in 12 months. They suggested that the first 12 months could be focussed on embedding key anti-racist points into their principles, with 2030 being the ultimate target end date. Some members felt that if this is a one year commitment it risks encouraging complaints of being dismissed on the basis that an organisation has been designated as being anti-racist. It was suggested that it might be more appropriate to ask organisations to make anti-racism a baseline value within their organisation by X date. There was broad support for this
  • some members raised concerns around asking organisations to self-identify as anti-racist. Would it be more appropriate to ask that they have specific targets/plans and that these be published in order to encourage community engagement? This reflects the need for the entire education population to be brought along on the anti-racist journey
  • members flagged the importance of culturally inclusive pedagogy and that this needs to go broader than just decolonising the curriculum. This is likely to be a multi-year piece of work. One suggestion was that there may be an argument for embedding action into School Improvement Plans (SIPs) but that most of these will already be in place for the coming 12 months. Some members felt that if change is prescribed there may be an increased risk of push-back
  • members reiterated the importance of not just engaging leaders but also children and young people and educators on the ground
  • members flagged that the underlying issue remains a lack of racial literacy within the workforce. Buy-in to a commitment can only happen and be fruitful when everyone understands the importance of anti-racist action
  • members suggested that any commitment needs to take into account the work already underway under the AREP and build upon/support this
  • measurability will be complex. Organisations within the education sector will need to explore very different metrics in order to demonstrate progress

Judith advised the group that the AREP Programme Board will discuss this further at its meeting on Wednesday 25 January.

Data disclosure discussion

Asif introduced this item. It followed from the discussion that was had at the December meeting of the subgroup. The purpose was to agree on next steps in progressing work in this area. Asif proposed that the group may wish to write out to Local Authorities, either now or as part of the follow up to the upcoming data report. 

Action: Asif to pick up with Simon Cameron to discuss how best to contact Local Authorities relating to the issue of enhancing data disclosure.

Members raised concerns that the response rate has previously been very poor and that it would be good to consider how this can be improved.

ESOL Highers - update

The current position within Scotland is that for entry into ITE an individual is required to have English at SCQF Level 6. For secondary teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) is treated as equivalent to Higher English but for Primary teaching it is not. Members raised concerns around the lack of equivalence.

Asif advised members that this is something that is contained within the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between GTC Scotland and ITE providers. This agreement relates to entry requirements for ITE in Scotland and is reviewed roughly every five years, with the next review expected around 2024. There have been discussions around bringing rules relating to ESOL/higher equivalency for Primary teaching in line with that for Secondary teaching. As such GTC Scotland are undertaking ground work to establish the merits of such a change ahead of the next MOU review. 

Asif asked that members write to him outlining the reasons for changing the rules to make ESOL equivalent to Higher English with regards to entry into Primary teaching. 

Action: Chairs and Secretariat to draft response to GTC Scotland, on behalf of the DITPEW subgroup, regarding the merit of equivalence between ESOL and English Higher for primary teaching. This should circulated to members for comment. 

Any other business

There were two items of any other business.

ITE framework update

Louise updated the group saying that Khadija sent the final version of the framework to SCDE’s comms team just after Christmas. This version took onboard feedback following her meeting with SCDE. The final version should be ready at some point this week, at which point Louise will liaise with the chair of SCDE who will soft-launch the framework on Twitter and the SCDE website. A formal launch of the framework will take place on 08 June 2023 as part of the ITE self-evaluation day.

UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

A UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent conducted a visit to the UK between the 18 and 20 January 2023. This was a fact-finding country visit at the invitation of the UK Government. The group were collecting information relating to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance faced by people of African descent. As part of their engagement they met with government policy officials from across the four UK administrations. One of their sessions focussed on Education. More information about the working group and their visit can be found here - Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

The Scottish Government was only made aware at the last minute about this visit and as such were unable to influence any change to the Working Group’s itinerary which only included visits to cities in England, only engaged English civil society bodies. 

The session focussed on education went well. Sam Anson, Deputy Director for Workforce, Infrastructure and Digital led for Scottish Government and spoke about the work of the AREP and the individual subgroups. He acknowledged the amount of work that still needs to be undertaken to embed anti-racism in education. 

The expert group will deliver a press-statement and initial findings on Friday 27 January and a final report will be submitted to the UN towards the Autumn of 2023.

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