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

Minutes from the group's meeting on 31 October 2022.

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 
  • Zemeta Chefeke, SAMEE
  • Simon Cameron, COSLA
  • Sara Medel Jiménez, NASUWT
  • Lesley Whelan, Head of Professional Learning and Leadership, Education Scotland
  • Keya Raksith, Workforce Planning, Scottish Government
  • Emma Bunting, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Pauline Hendry, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Probationary Teacher


  • Louise Barrett, SCDE
  • Selma Augestad, National Officer, Equality, EIS
  • Judith Mohamed, Head teacher
  • Navan Govender, Anti-Racist Educator 
  • Andrea Reid, Glasgow City Council and ADES
  • Scott Sutherland, Early Learning and Childcare, Scottish Government
  • Judith Ballantine, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Nuzhat welcomed members to the meeting. She introduced a Probationary Teacher who had agreed to come and speak to the group about her experiences as a minority ethnic probationary teacher. 

Minutes and update on actions from the previous meeting

The minutes from the September meeting of this subgroup were agreed. 

Actions update:

  • Pauline Hendry to set up a meeting with the DITPEW chairs to discuss the next steps for the Developing the Young Workface session. This was covered under Any Other Business at the end of the meeting
  • chairs and secretariat to meet and discuss forward plan of work and to report back to October meeting of the DITPEW subgroup. Action closed, this was covered under agenda item 4
  • Pauline Hendry to send SLF session recording to REAREP members and ask that they distribute further as they deem appropriate. Action closed. Pauline has spoken to SLF organisers and there is a not a recording of the session that can be circulated however it can still be accessed on the SLF platform

Update from probationary teacher

Nuzhat welcomed The Probationary Teacher and invited her to speak to the group about her experiences of being a minority ethnic probationary teacher in Scotland. 

The Teacher reflected that she is not new to being the only person of colour in a room, both professionally and personally. She said that she was surprised by the lack of ethnic diversity on her PDGE course and, whilst she found Khadija Mohammed’s sessions very helpful, she was disappointed that anti-racism was treated as a token gesture and that there was simply a one-off fleeting reference. It would be better if it was carried throughout the course. 

Only 15 out of 400 ITE students attended the Inter-Disciplinary Learning (IDL) workshop. By not integrating it throughout the course material it meant that many people missed out on learning about how IDL includes learners and teachers. 

She said that her current role is the first one where she has been part of a diverse staff community. She reflected that she has, in her career, dealt with a lot of racism from both staff and students and that there has been a lack of support generally from school management. There is no framework currently in place to support student teachers. 

The Teacher had three key things that she has learned:

  • that there is a major challenge in choosing resources for the classroom. It is very difficult to find anything that is inclusive enough. She is spending a great deal of time creating resources from scratch
  • there is a need for greater minority ethnic teachers in Scotland and this needs to be integrated across the whole school. She experienced the greatest amount of racism in the school with the lowest ethnic diversity. There was a real sense here that people didn’t know how to discuss issues of race so they simply ignored it
  • it’s vital that educators are aware of the language that they use and attitudes that they bring to the classroom and the impact of that when working with a diverse group of pupils. It is key to ensure that their entire practice is anti-racist by being critical of their own assumptions

Members suggested that she has clearly done a lot of thinking about her racial identity and how that relates to her teacher identity. They reflected that this isn’t the case for all minority ethnic teachers and that it should be explored in greater detail during ITE. There is also a sense that some teachers may wish to actively separate their racial and teacher identities. They asked the for her thoughts on the best way forward, eg should it be part of ITE? 

Her response was that she can understand that there is a desire to separate racial and teacher identities but personally she found this impossible and can’t imagine doing so. She raised this during Khadija’s session during the second half of her ITE journey. She felt as though this should have happened at the start of a journey. This is even more vital for those who have had negative experiences due to issues relating to race. 

Action grid update and 6 month prioritisation

Members reflected that there are still a number of actions that require further work from others before they are able to be progressed (for example the actions around the ITE framework).

The EIS report, spoken about previously, has not yet been published. It is hoped that Selma will be able to speak to this at the November meeting of the subgroup. 

Asif is currently taking forward work on sponsorship models, this work is currently at an early stage. 

Members also reflected that increasing ethnicity disclosure should be a key area of focus over the next few months. 

Following the publication of the data report in May this year the subgroup wrote to all Local Authorities with a number of self-reflection questions. Members are keen to reflect on what can be done as a follow-up to this, given that little feedback was received to those letters. May be because of a similar letter being issues by EIS around the same time. 

Action: Simon Cameron to pick up on feedback from Local Authorities to the data report at regular meeting with HR reps. 

It was agreed that the best way to progress is to wait until the EIS report is published and pick up directly with Local Authorities on the back of their responses. This could also be linked into what the data in the next report tells us. 

It was agreed that a similar exercise with ITE institutions will be needed once Khadija/SCDE’s framework is published. Asif reflected that he has been working with Louise Barrett in SCDE on possibly taking forward an action planning process following the publication of the framework. Asif intends to reach out to ITE institutions to promote the framework and to offer support. General sense is that it will be best to frame it as “what are your development/support needs?”

Members reflected that increasing ethnicity disclosure is another priority for the group. 

Action: Emma Bunting to speak with the Scottish Government team that coordinated the general census to see if there has been any learning on how to increase disclosure. 

Action: Asif Chishti to feed back to subgroup on research that he has been doing regarding why people may choose not to disclose their ethnicity. Emma Bunting to add to Nov agenda of this meeting. 

Members reflected that it may be worth liaising with the EIS BAME network to see if they have any thoughts on why some people are choosing not to disclose ethnicity.

Action: Nuzhat to pick up with Selma as to whether the EIS BAME network have any indication, or are able to find out, why individuals choose not to disclose their ethnicity when asked. 

Discussion on the National Conversation and Hayward Review

There has been engagement between the Curriculum Reform Subgroup and Professor Louise Hayward. The main message that has been conveyed is in relation to the importance that anti-racism and equality come out tangibly and visibly in her report. Indications from discussion at the Programme Board on this is that whilst Professor Hayward is happy to discuss it is up to us to make sure that we remain engaged with the consultation process. The Curriculum Reform subgroup members largely discussed issues relating to assessment and the desire for a model more centred on continuous assessment rather than on exams. Agreed that there would need to be thought given to how to minimise bias an prejudice that would act as a barrier to attainment. 

The question posed to members was how they wish to engage with the consultations for both Prof. Hayward and Prof. Harris. Members agreed it may be best to reply to the consultations as a group and also to feed in to a wider REAREP return. 

Hayward Review

One issue flagged for consideration in relation to the Hayward Review is around qualifications for those wanting to pursue teaching as a career. In particular those who apply to get into teaching but may not have the required qualifications or their qualifications may not be recognised in Scotland. 

Action: Chairs and Secretariat to meet and discuss a return to the Hayward Review with a view to bringing a draft to the November meeting of the subgroup. 

National Conversation

Members were clear that a return is also needed for this consultation. Sense that the focus should be on enriching the entire school system, making it more supportive, with increased diversity in role models and enrichment of knowledge and skills across the teaching profession.

Action: Chairs and Secretariat to meet and discuss a return to the National Conversation consultation with a view to bringing a draft to the November meeting of the subgroup. 

Action: Chairs and Secretariat to liaise with REAREP members more broadly and to consider meeting with Prof. Hayward and Prof. Harris. 

Action: Secretariat to circulate facilitation packs for the National Conversation to members. 

Any other business

Developing the young workforce sessions

Pauline Hendry outlined the work that has been done around brainstorming for a session to be run on this platform in early 2023. 

Action: Secretariat to organise a small group to take forward organisation of the DYW session. 

Saroj Lal awards

This year’s winners have been announced and are Katie D’Souza and Carrie McWilliams. Unfortunately there has been further online abuse following these announcements. Asif will be meeting with both winners to get an overview of their work. There is a real sense that winners are taking on an increasingly ambassadorial role. 

Feedback on evaluation framework session

Members reflected their disappointment at the choice of wording around a lack of evidence to back up the actions of the REAREP. There was a discussion in that session around what is considered to be valid evidence for this exercise and whether it excludes by its nature a good deal of anecdotal evidence and lived experience. Some reflection that in previous meetings it had been pointed out that the DITPEW subgroup have a stronger body of ‘data’ to back up their actions than perhaps there is for other groups. 

Back to top