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

Minutes from the group's meeting on 14 June 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Selma Augestad, Chair, National Officer, Equality, EIS
  • Asif Chishti, Senior Education Officer (National Race Diversity Lead), General Teaching Council Scotland
  • Simon Cameron, Chief Officer – Employer’s Team, COSLA
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Professional Learning and Leadership (Race Equality), Education Scotland 
  • Andrea Reid, Glasgow City Council and ADES
  • Navan Govendar, Anti-Racist Educator
  • Zemeta Chefeke, SAMEE
  • Lesley Whelan, Head of Professional Learning and Leadership, Education Scotland
  • 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


  • Nuzhat Uthmani, Primary School Teacher
  • Professor Rowena Arshad, former Head of Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Judith Mohamed, Head teacher
  • Louise Barrett, SCDE

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Selma welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted apologies. She welcomed new members Zem Chefeke and Louise Barrett (in absence) to the group. 

Selma advised subgroup members that Prof. Rowena Arshad has given notice that she will be stepping back from this group. The group put on record their thanks to Rowena for all of her work and wished her well for the future. 

Minutes and update on actions from the previous meeting

Selma advised that there had been no comments to the minutes from the May meeting. No comments were raised at the meeting and the minute was agreed. 

Actions Update:

  • Emma to add reflection on BRL programme to June agenda. – Closed
  • Mélina to bring paper relating to BRL programme to June meeting – Closed
  • Mélina to speak to the RRI subgroup’s Whole School Approach at June meeting – Closed
  • Asif to feedback to the subgroup following his scheduled meeting with the Education Workforce Council. – Closed, update under agenda item 3
  • Subgroup to consider whether to change terminology under action theme 3(b) from ‘good practice’ to ‘innovative practice’. – Closed. There was some discussion around terminology. It was agreed to change the term ‘good practice’ within the action grid to ‘emerging practice’

Action – Emma to update action grid to reflect the change in terminology from ‘good practice’ to ‘emerging practice’.

  • Scott Sutherland to circulate information relating to ‘Developing the Young Workforce’. – Scott Sutherland gave a brief update on the DYW opportunity. This offers the group the chance to potentially run sessions that reach children/young people and to engage with them about career opportunities within the education sector. Members felt this could be a good opportunity to encourage BME young people to consider a career in education. Melina suggested this might be good to discuss alongside the positive practice being done by Glasgow City Council (on August agenda). Selma asked that the group consider and this will be added as an agenda item to the August agenda

Action – Emma to add Developing the Young Workforce sessions to August agenda.
Action – Scott Sutherland to speak with SDS about the practicalities of running a DYW session ahead of the August meeting. Pauline Hendry to link up with Scott and the DITPEW chair(s) ahead of the August meeting re the group’s input.

  • Selma to update members at June meeting as to the progress of EIS posters/infographic related to underrepresentation. – remains open
  • Selma to circulate paper related to EIS information gathering practices within Local Authorities. – remains open
  • DITPEW members to look into discussion with legal/HR reps around the legalities and practicalities of positive actions. – Remains open. Members felt that this should be added to the August agenda and linked in with the discussion related to Glasgow City Council’s positive actions. Asif suggested that we could also link in with the ADES Resource Group. Andrea suggested Asif also speak to Douglas Hutchison

Action - Asif to link in with Simon Cameron and ADES ahead of the August meeting to discuss the practicalities of a session on the practicalities and legalities of positive action. 
Action - Emma to schedule meeting of mini working group (including Asif, Simon and Andrea) to organise HR/Legal session on positive actions. 
Action - Emma to add HR/Legal session on positive actions to the August agenda after Nuzhat’s item on GCC’s actions. 

  • Nuzhat to share paper that she has compiled for Glasgow City Council on behalf of EIS’ Glasgow BAME network. – remains open

Update on ITE accreditation

Work is in train in this area within GTCS. The process for ITE accreditation considers equality broadly. It looks at the content of ITE courses as well as what ITE providers are doing to encourage a diverse range of entrants. It considers support for students both during their course and on placement. 

It must be remembered that any changes to the accreditation process would need to go through the relevant governance processes and be agreed by GTCS members. It would then be subject to consultation. 

Asif also gave an update on his meeting with the Education Workforce Council (Welsh equivalent to GTCS). During this meeting they discussed areas of similarity between Wales and Scotland but also areas of divergence. Key takeaways from that meeting:

  • Wales don’t have a target equivalent to Scotland’s 4% by 2030 target. The focus within Wales is almost entirely towards ITE and takes little account of the employment sector – they have a loose aspiration of a 5% BAME intake into ITE
  • in 2019 there was a Welsh publication equivalent to Rowena’s report. It highlighted the need for support for BAME candidates applying for ITE, including for those who are unsuccessful. There is some emerging practice in this area within Wales. Asif will meet again with his counterparts to look further at where action can be taken forward
  • the Education Workforce Council suggested that there is work underway in Cardiff, by Cardiff City Council to support minority ethnic teaching assistants into converting to become teachers. The reason for this is that it has been identified that the teaching assistant population is more diverse than the teaching cohort. Asif confirmed that he will be speaking to the Education Workforce Council again and will find out more around how minority ethnic teaching assistants are supported to gain the appropriate qualifications to convert to teaching 

Action - Emma to ask SG data colleagues whether we have ethnicity data for the teaching assistant population.

  • curriculum reform in Wales is something they are very proud of
  • there is an incentive (money) scheme being run by Welsh Government with the aim of attracting BAME teachers to the profession

Building racial literacy - interim evaluation

Mélina presented to the group on the interim evaluation of the Building Racial Literacy (BRL) programme. She spoke to the slide-pack that has been circulated alongside this minute. 

Applications for the next two cohorts closed on Monday 13 June however the deadline has been extended for a couple of target groups. There is capacity on the programme for 200 participants and they currently have 208 applications. Mélina expressed her thanks to SCDE for ensuring applications from programme leads from each ITE provider. Currently all but two have applied. 

Applications from people of colour make up 13% and 28% represent system leaders. Thanks to Asif there have been a number of applications from GTCS. In terms of Local Authority applications there are gaps across a few Local Authorities. 

Roughly 10 individuals from cohort 1 have agreed to return as facilitators for cohorts 2 and 3. There is thinking ongoing, including with Asif and the new SQA rep, around increasing capacity and building sustainability into the programme.

In terms of evaluation, this is done throughout the programme including through pre and post-programme surveys. Further feedback sessions over the coming 12 months will be used to assess the longer term impact of participation. Feedback from cohort 1 participants has been overwhelmingly positive and there is plenty of work ongoing outside of the programme with the cohort 1 alumni. 

Example of qualitative data was shared in the chat - Decolonising the Curriculum: Exploring Positive Narratives that Challenge Assumptions, Empower Learners and Inspire Unity


  • Navan – this is really impressive and it will be interesting to see the longer term impacts. Really encouraging to hear about the networks established and sustained engagement with previous alumni. If there is a resource that comes out of the programme that can be shared that would be great
  • Mélina – thinking about how to better communicate the benefits of the programme
  • Lesley – Thinking must be done now around how we continue to support this programme. There have been discussions in the ELPL subgroup around building confidence and capability and the need for ongoing learning opportunities. One thought is around the possibility of further co-creating opportunities, with a view to keeping people engaged in the work
  • Navan – If more system leaders join the alumni then the network and influence is likely to grow to reflect that
  • Lesley – Could future partnerships with ITE institutions mean additional possibilities for post-graduate study

Racism and racist incidents (RRI) subgroup - whole school approach

Selma introduced this item, she advised that members of this subgroup have already been engaged with the RRI subgroup and have fed-in to the draft document attached to the agenda. The purpose of this item is to get an update on progress to date from and to allow DITPEW members a further chance to comment. 

Mélina presented the draft paper. She advised that the RRI subgroup are still in the early stages of developing this whole school approach document. It represents one of the few actions that the group have so far agreed to. Nuzhat and Mélina have made clear to the RRI members that the document must adequately reflect the needs to BME staff as well as those of children and young people. As such Nuzhat and Mélina added text related to the voices of adults and educators and on challenging children’s racism towards staff. They reflected that clear guidance for employers would be helpful to have and that this may be a key area where the DITPEW subgroup could support. 

There was also reflection around the need for reference to parents and carers. 

Action - Mélina to gather and collate DITPEW members’ comments on the RRI whole school approach document and to take back to the RRI subgroup.

Selma suggested that this should be reflected within the subgroup’s action grid. 

Action - Emma to draft reference to the whole school approach document and employers guidance to the DITPEW action grid. 

Asif reflected that he really welcomed the inclusion of racism and racist incidents towards staff within the whole school approach draft. He also suggested that the reference to a legal framework was vital in addressing what exactly a racist incident is and when it should be recorded as such.
Asif raised concerns around the definition associated with ‘gaslighting’ in the terminology section. He suggested that this needs to be revisited.

Chairing of the DITPEW subgroup and next 6 months

This meeting marks a year of the subgroup existing. Selma took the opportunity to thank members for all of their collaborative working. 

Selma asked for thoughts from the group on chairing arrangements for the next 12 months. 

Members voiced their support of Nuzhat as chair and asked that a congratulations on her promotion be put on the formal record. Asif suggested that he would be keen to support Nuzhat in her role as chair, including attending pre-meetings if this would be helpful. Members raised the question of whether a co-chairing arrangement would be more appropriate.

Action - Emma to pick up, as secretariat, with Selma, Nuzhat and Asif to consider the best chairing arrangement and to discuss practicalities. 

Selma explained that the ToR will require updating to reflect the up to date membership list and, once agreed, the new chairing arrangement. It was agreed that going forward the ToR would agree to the Chair being reconsidered after 12 months. 

Action - Emma to update ToR and circulate to members for comment.

Any other business

  • no meeting in July. Next meeting will be in August, with the new chair

Action - Emma to put next 6 months’ worth of meetings into calendars. 

  • Scottish Learning Festival – Mélina explained that this event is scheduled for the 21st and 22nd of September and that the theme this year is around centring the learners within education. Selma, Emma and Mélina have discussed and think that this would be a good opportunity to run a session around the experiences of BME educators. It would provide the chance to highlight underrepresentation and the steps being taken to address it. Mélina advised that she has submitted an application to run such a session and that we should know by the end of the month if this has been successful. Text of proposal (as posted in chat) below:
    Title of the Seminar:
    You Can’t Be What You Can’t See: Improving the experience of Minority Ethnic Educators in Initial Teacher Education
    [The theme of the festival is “Being Me, Being Us,” so that was my attempt at making that connection…]
    Type of seminar: discussion panel
    Description of the seminar:
    With the under-representation of Minority Ethnic (ME) educators in Scotland, how can we recruit and retain a diverse education workforce for every learner to thrive? The 2022 Diversity in the Teaching Profession Annual Data report shows that 1.8% of teachers identify as being from a ME background, still far from the 4% target by 2030. Starting off from Initial Teacher Educator, this seminar will explore the barriers faced by ME adult learners, key drop-off points and ways in which these can be addressed according to the Scottish Government working group looking at Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce
  • data – Members agreed that a meeting in August/Sept with SG data colleagues to start looking ahead to the 2023 data publication would be helpful

Action - Emma to invite SG data colleagues to future DITPEW meeting.

  • Saroj Lal Award - Asif raised the Saroj Lal award. He reminded members to nominate individuals for the award should they wish to and asked that, if possible, they use their social media platforms to promote the award. Closing date for nominations is 01 Sept 2022
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