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

Minutes from the group's meeting on 17 November 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Professor Rowena Arshad, former Head of Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Yasmeen Hussain, SAMEE 
  • Judith Mohamed, Headteacher, Old Machar, Aberdeen
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Professional Learning and Leadership (Race Equality), Education Scotland 
  • Victoria Smith, Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning, GTC Scotland
  • Sara Medel Jiménez, NASUWT
  • Simon Cameron, Employer’s team, COSLA
  • Scott Sutherland, Early Years and Childcare, Scottish Government
  • Alan Sloan, Education Analytical Services, Scottish Government
  • Lorna McDonald, Education Analytical Services, Scottish Government
  • Judith Ballantine (temp Chair), Equalities in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Emma Bunting, Equalities in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Pauline Hendry, Equalities in Education Team, Scottish Government


  • Selma Augestad, National Officer, Equality, EIS
  • Nuzhat Uthmani, Primary School Teacher
  • Maureen McKenna, ADES/Director of Education, Glasgow City Council 
  • Navan Govender, Anti-Racist Educator
  • Stephanie Walsh, Education Workforce, Learning Directorate, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Judith Ballantine welcomed everyone to the group, including Emma Bunting who is taking over from Siân Balfour. In Selma’s absence Judith chaired this meeting. 

Update on actions from previous meeting

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

  • Selma to provide further update after responses have been received and analysed and will share a copy of letter with Scott Sutherland. – Completed
  • Yasmin 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. – These actions were taken together. Judith highlighted that this would be dealt with under Agenda Item 3 of this meeting. She flagged that helpful feedback had been received on the ToR from members and is reflected in the version attached to the agenda
  • 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. – Judith flagged that the Programme Board has requested that all sub-groups bring their finalised actions to the Stakeholder Network Meeting (SNG) on 27January and be prepared to present them. Deeper discussion to be had on actions at December meeting of DITPEW sub-group
  • Judith will discuss with Victoria and consider how to incorporate points which have not already been covered elsewhere in the wider text. – Completed, this was covered under Agenda Item 5

Conclude discussion and finalise terms of reference and finalise actions and consider approaches to evaluation

Terms of reference

Judith invited members to agree the Terms of Reference for the group, as per the paper. Two additional amendments were suggested, both of which were agreed. After these changes have been made the ToR will be considered to be agreed. 

Action: Scott Sutherland to suggest wording for the Terms of Reference to reflect the incorporation of early learning and childcare. 

Action: Mélina to offer wording for principles section to reflect the crossover between the work of the DITPEW and RRIB subgroups. 


Judith B highlighted that the actions table will be the subject of deeper consideration at the December meeting of this subgroup, with the aim of being in a position to present the finalised actions to the January meeting of the wider stakeholder network group. 

Reflections from this meeting on the actions paper:


  • need to be mindful of the overlap with other subgroups. Consideration should be given around the possibility of a joint action with the RRIB subgroup relating to racist incidents involving teachers and staff (RRIB’s focus is currently on pupils and young people)
  • need to reflect in actions that this workstream covers entire education workforce and not just teachers – need to include wording around early learning and childcare
  • helpful to note that some issues have a tendency to re-occur, and may have already been considered as part of the deliberations of the Diversity in the Teaching Profession working group, chaired by Prof Rowena Arshad. There will be some clear issues where it would be helpful to tackle them head on. Would be helpful to build an evidence base of things that are happening – possibly something for data colleagues to assist with?

Action: 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. 

Action 1: national post

  • this role carries a great deal of responsibility, need to be mindful that the individual taking on this role will have a lot placed on them. Should be a recognition that existing bodies (e.g. LAs and RICS) should already be taking ownership, it is not about waiting for the individual to take up the National Post and do the work for them. Reflection from members is that this individual should be seen more as an enabler and facilitator, who will take forward critical engagement which will result in actions being delivered by other organisations and individuals

Action 2: annual data publication

  • clear that there is a greater proportion of black and minority ethnic teacher on supply lists or temp contracts. Members think it would be helpful to see data around this included in the annual data publication in April. Must be mindful not to read too much into it – there are many reasons that an individual may choose supply/temp work
  • might be helpful to include data around racist incidents amongst teachers (e.g. data related to grievances). This is already done, to a degree, for children and young people but would be useful for staff too

Action 3: SCDE to oversee development of national framework for ITE providers

  • in relation to offering advice to ITE providers, this should include reviewing entry requirements to education programmes. Reflection from members that entry requirements alone can be daunting. Would be good as part of this to understand what the application rate is like for BME individuals and how that converts into uptake rates. Other members reflected that this is complex, might be more effective to consider the whole package, wider than qualifications alone (e.g. need to have spent X amount of time in a school) 
  • Scott asked if there was scope for Scottish Funding Council to be involved. Conscious that SCDE don’t cover early learning and childcare

Action – Scott to meet with Judith and Emma to discuss further around Scottish Funding Council involvement. 

Action 4: gathering examples of best practice

  • no direct feedback from members

Action 5: programme of engagement with ME young people and local communities to encourage individuals into teaching profession

  • need to consider how to engage career changers as well as young people. Members flagged that considerations for these individuals would be different to those of young people (e.g. financial stability) 
  • need to consider not just entry into the profession but also how to retain those already working within it
  • members highlighted other bodies that could be engaged to help drive this work forward, including Skills Scotland and Developing Young Workforce

Action 6: national offer of support with focus on sponsorship to support BME teachers

  • “provide support with a focus on sponsorship” – this needs to be more specific. There must be support systems in place for those in the profession and progressing into leadership positions

Action 7: leaders at all levels recognise racism in all forms and support teachers experiencing it

  • clear overlap here with other subgroups. Potential for joint action? 

Annual data report

Lorna and Alan presented a slide deck outlining the data that is already collected and reflecting on where gaps could be. This was received well by members. There were reflections that, whilst members were not surprised by what the data was saying, it did not always completely tie up with what they were seeing on the ground (e.g. on the ground there is less of a discrepancy between PGDE and undergrad data.) Members asked whether SG data colleagues have had contact with university data teams who may be able to offer alternative insights. 

Action: SG data colleagues to look into whether it is possible to engage directly with university data teams and what the next steps would be. 

Other potential data issues suggested by members:

  • members flagged that it may be helpful to include the number of Black and minority ethnic individuals completing probation (including possibly breaking down why individuals choose to withdraw and at what stage)
  • question around whether possible to break down data by primary and secondary. SG data colleagues to take forward to data group
  • is it possible to get ethnicity data from independent schools, maybe with the help of SCIS? Especially if the Public Sector Equality Duties applies to independent schools
  • do we have data regarding Access to Teaching programmes? e.g. The proportion of BME students in Access programmes and the success of Access programmes

Action: Emma to collate suggestions around additional data requirements and take to data group on 24 November.

Draft job remit for new national post

Victoria thanked members for their comments previously on the job remit and acknowledged that it is not possible to share the entire job description due to the requirement for fair and open competition. She assured members that their comments had been taken on board and reflected in full. Role to be advertised from end of next week with a closing date of 13 December. Careful consideration being given to panel composition for the recruitment – GTCS keen to ensure that the panel is appropriately representative. Members were clear that there is a need for the panel to be made up of knowledgeable individuals with lived experience.

There were no objections to the post remit being agreed and recruitment proceeding as above.

Any other business

Next meeting of this group will be on 13 December 2021, the agenda will focus on a detailed discussion around the actions with a view to achieving a final draft to be taken to the stakeholder network group in January. 

Members were asked if they had any thoughts regarding a deputy chair being appointed.

Action: Members to let Emma know if they wish to be considered for the role of deputy chairperson. 

Action: 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.

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