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

Minutes from the group's meeting on 22 March 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 
  • Louise Barrett, SCDE
  • Kevin Brack, Lecturer in Educational Leadership, Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Simon Cameron, COSLA
  • Navan Govender, Anti-Racist Educator 
  • Marla Baird, Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Manager, SQA
  • Selma Augestad, National Officer (Equality), EIS
  • Sara Medel Jiménez, NASUWT
  • Professor John McKendrick, Commissioner for Fair Access to Higher Education in Scotland
  • Pauline Hendry, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Judith Ballantine, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Emma Bunting, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government


  • Lesley Whelan, Head of Professional Learning and Leadership, Education Scotland?
  • Keya Raksith, Workforce Planning, Scottish Government
  • Scott Sutherland, Early Learning and Childcare, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Nuzhat welcomed members to the group. She introduced Marla Baird as a new member to the DITPEW subgroup. She has recently taken up the role of Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Manager within the SQA. Nuzhat also advised that Professor John McKendrick, the new Commissioner for Fair Access to Higher Education in Scotland would be joining today’s meeting for agenda item 6, to outline the link between his role and this group’s work. 

Nuzhat advised that Zem has chosen to step back from the group and that a new SAMEE representative will be appointed in due course.

Minutes and update on actions from the previous meeting

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

Actions update:

  • Asif to follow up with university ethics committees around ethical data collection processes. Action closed. Asif and Navan have now spoken. It is clear, when we talk about encouraging ethnicity data disclosure that we are mindful of the line between informed consent and coercion. It is important that we are clear that employers should be collecting the data to inform change and not simply for performative reasons
  • members to submit comments around disclosure categories for the census in advance of next meeting. Action closed. No comments were received
  • Emma to pick up with Katherine Ross and identify where there are links between her work and that of the DITPEW. Carried forward – Emma to pick up with Katherine now that she is back from leave
  • Asif to pick up with Simon Cameron to discuss how best to contact Local Authorities relating to the issue of enhancing data disclosure. Action closed – this was covered under agenda item 3
  • chairs and Secretariat to draft response to GTC Scotland, on behalf of the group, regarding the merit of equivalence between ESOL and English Higher for primary teaching. This should circulated to members for comment. Action carried forward
  • Asif to clarify whether GTCS can meet with groups, such as this one to discuss the GTC Scotland MoU on Entry into ITE or whether they only accept written submissions. – Action closed – this was discussed under agenda item 5
  • secretariat to include topic of MoU consultation on next DITPEW agenda for discussion after which an initial draft response will be pulled together, including real life examples which members should send to the Secretariat. Action closed
  • Kevin Brack and Louise Barratt to feedback on discussions relating to available data. Action carried forward. This action relates to whether the data gathered at UCAS application stage related to protected characteristics is passed on and utilised by ITE schools
  • Judith will speak to Support and Wellbeing colleagues who lead on EAL and establish whether there is an activity/data on positive destinations for EAL pupils. Action closed – Data received shows that amongst 2021/22 school leavers, 96.6% of those with English as an additional language were in a positive destination. 47.8% were in HE, 33.3% in FE and 12.6% in Employment

Action: Judith to share report from which the data relating to the destinations for students with EAL comes from. Judith also to confirm whether the data can be broken down by other protected characteristics. Also to confirm whether the data is broken down by individual local authority. 

  • Alan to ask UCAS whether their data can be split by ethnicity (it is unlikely that this will be provided for publication purposes, but can perhaps be obtained for this group’s information), and whether a representative could attend a future DITPEW meeting to discuss their data in more detail. Carried forward
  • Janice will provide breakdown of promoted posts across Scotland as a whole, with further detail around local authority level to be carried out in future. Action closed

Guidance for employers on data gathering

Following a discussion with Simon Cameron and Emma Bunting, Asif has produced an initial draft of a document aimed at guiding local authorities, employers and ITE institutions in enhancing their rate of ethnicity data disclosure within their workforce/student body. The expectation is that this document will be issued alongside the letters to local authorities and ITE institutions following the publication of this year’s annual Diversity in the Teaching Profession Data Report. 

The purpose of this discussion is to allow members to reflect on the tone, structure and content of the document. Asif shared the draft on his screen. 

Action: Once ready Asif to circulate draft data gathering guidance document for comment. 

Reflections from members included:

  • should we consider moving away from the word ‘disclosure’ which can carry negative connotations and towards terminology such as ‘declaration’ instead? Members felt that this was a good idea and that it was more affirmative than ‘disclosure’ which is considered formal and regulatory 
  • amongst other things the document should link to the Teaching in a Diverse Scotland reports and the Scottish Government’s Anti-Racist Employment Strategy, as well as to the annual data reports
  • including case studies may offer value. For example case studies in relation to how the data is used in an organisation to advance equality or eliminate discrimination such as the published workforce equality monitoring report (actions to address concerns would be included in the PSED and Mainstreaming Report) also Equal Pay Review, evidence to support Equality Impact Assessments
  • It might be helpful to structure the guidance under the following headings:
    • purpose and use of data and data collection
    • ensuring confidentiality and anonymity
    • voluntary and informed consent
    • safety and trust:
      • contexts/conditions for safe declaration
      • communication processes
  • there needs to be consideration given to how data can be gathered for staff that don’t have regular access to IT

Update on annual data report

Emma updated the group on the publication of the third annual Diversity in the Teaching Profession Data Report. Publication had been scheduled for 28 March 2023 however, due to the appointment of the new First Minister, potential Cabinet reshuffle and imminent parliamentary recess, it has been agreed to postpone publication until 18 April 2023. 

Action: Emma to share embargoed version of the data report with the DITPEW chairs once it is available. 

General Teaching Council for Scotland Memorandum of Understanding on Entry into ITE - review

Asif advised that the review of the MoU is not imminent. The five year anniversary of the current MoU will take place in Autumn 2024 and a full consultation is expected around that time. Submission at this stage however are appreciated in order to identify key areas for review. At this stage there is no formal decision on engagement with groups in relation to the MoU review. For this group the key issue is the fact that, at present, those with an ESOL qualification are not treated the same in relation to applying to do primary and secondary teaching. Asif was clear that, due to a conflict of interest, it will not be possible for him to be involved in drafting a return to this consultation. 

The group decided that they wish to submit a response to the consultation that outlines the case for ESOL qualifications to be treated the same for both primary and secondary teaching. Nuzhat opened to the group for suggestions to include in the submission:

  • the lack of equivalence creates unnecessary barriers to potential teachers entering the workforce
  • the barrier itself is discriminatory
  • there doesn’t seem to be a clear reason for the current position, other than it’s the way it’s always been
  • equivalence would really help to widen access to teaching as a career for minority ethnic people
  • it acts as a barrier to achieving the ambition of diversifying the workforce
  • in the wider context equivalence would align with the drive under education reform to move away from Highers being viewed by schools/universities/society as the gold standard
  • the policy feels dated and does not take into account the needs of the education system, learners and educators
  • there should be equal, equitable, and appropriate entry requirements across related fields/programmes
  • equivalence would lead to alignment across entry requirements to (inter)related programmes of study
  • the current policy maintains problematic norms related to linguistic diversity and linguistic prejudice (particularly as it relates to race/ethnicity, nationality, etc)

Commissioner for widening access to Scotland's universities

Nuzhat welcomed Professor John McKendrick, Scotland’s new Commissioner for Widening Access to Scotland’s Universities, to the group. The purpose of this discussion is to hear from him about his role and how it overlaps with the interests of the subgroup.

Professor McKendrick is a Professor in Social Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University. In his role as Commissioner he has inherited 34 recommendations, stemming from 2016. His initial reflections, after digesting material relating to the work of the DITPEW, is that it is vitally important that intersecting protected characteristics should be a focus of the higher education agenda. To date the focus, as relates to protected characteristics, has been on age, gender and disability. 

The group reflected that they are keen to engage closely with Professor McKendrick as he takes his role forward. Members made him aware of the SCDE Anti-Racism in ITE framework that is due for soft-launch imminently. This framework will be used as a tool for ITE to increase applicants, entrants and qualifiers. 

Asif and Louise are seeking to build a network of appropriate individuals who will work to take forward actions from the framework. A set of sessions will run with a focus on the below headings:

  • marketing and recruitment
  • selection and admission processes
  • ITE programmes: identity and positionality
  • anti-racist pedagogy and curriculum
  • placement 
  • probationary period
  • racial literacy of teacher educators 

Louise advised that ITE institutions have been tasked with creating their action plans ahead of the formal launch of the framework in June. 

Professor McKendrick expressed an interest in data relating to the difference in attainment of minority ethnic students between school and higher education, as outlined in the “Do Black Lives Still Matter” report. Members reflected that the underperformance of minority ethnic people within higher education continues into employment, whereby they struggle to secure promoted posts. 

Professor McKendrick advised that there is a target that by 2030 20% of students entering university from Scotland will be from a deprived background. He was clear that he understands the intersectional nature of deprivation and various protected characteristics. It is his view that institutions need to change in order to address the needs of their cohorts but that this does not lowering standards. His remit is about both getting people into university but also ensuring that they thrive there. 

Members reflected that Wales have a target to increase BME intake to 5% but that Scotland’s target is considered to be more holistic as it addresses both intake and retention. 

Any other business

Hayward Review – As reflected on Professor Haywards meeting with the Anti-Racism in Education Programme Board. The review is now moving into phase 3, this means going out with a model for comments. The model is based on a national diploma of education with three branches. More information can be found here - Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment in Scotland: interim report

Theory of change – A first workshop, aimed at developing a theory of change model for the work of the DITPEW, took place earlier this month. A draft model has been circulated for comment. A follow-up workshop is scheduled for 4th April, members are encouraged to attend. 

GTCS – Asif highlighted the Speaking Up Guide for Teaching Professionals published by GTC Scotland Ethics in Teaching: Speaking Up Guide

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