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

Minutes from the group's meeting on 14 September 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Selma Augestad, (Chair), National Officer, Equality, EIS 
  • Simon Cameron, Employers’ Team, COSLA
  • Navan Govender, Anti-Racist Educator
  • Murid Laly, Intercultural Youth Scotland
  • Yasmeen Hussain, SAMEE 
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Professional Learning and Leadership (Race Equality), Education Scotland 
  • Judith Mohamed, Headteacher, Old Machar, Aberdeen
  • Victoria Smith, Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning, GTC Scotland
  • Maureen McKenna, ADES/Director of Education, Glasgow City Council
  • Stephanie Walsh, Education Workforce, Learning Directorate, SG
  • Scott Sutherland, Early Years and Childcare, Scottish Government (SG)
  • Sara Medel Jiménez, NASUWT
  • Judith Ballantine, Equalities in Education Team, Learning Directorate, SG
  • Siân Balfour, (Secretariat) Equalities in Education Team, Learning Directorate, SG
  • Pauline Hendry, (Secretariat) Equalities in Education Team, Learning Directorate, SG 
  • Mandy Watts, Fair Work and Skills Division, Scottish Government
  • Jatin Haria, Coalition of Racial Equality and Rights


  • Professor Rowena Arshad, former Head of Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Nuzhat Uthmani, Primary School Teacher
  • Khaleda Noon, Chief Executive, Intercultural Youth Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Selma welcomed everyone to the group, including new members Sara Medel Jiménez, who is representing NASUWT and Scott Sutherland, Policy Lead for Early Years and Childcare Workforce. Scott outlined some of the work he’s involved in and the strong parallels and similar goals his work has with this group. 

Selma also introduced Mandy Watts Fair Work and Skills Division and Jatin Haria, Coalition of Racial Equality and Rights joining us for agenda item 4.

Update and actions from previous meeting

  • Siân to revise the vision with accompanying statements and actions based on discussions and recirculate for further comment
  • Siân to revise Terms of Reference for agreement and sign-off at the next meeting

These actions were covered under the revised TOR that has been circulated as a meeting paper.

  • Siân to table an item on the next meeting’s agenda to conclude discussions and agree a finalised set of actions/outputs

This action was covered under item 3.

  • Judith to arrange an early meeting with the GTCS around the governance arrangements surrounding the new national post. A revised version of the job remit will then be shared for further comment following this meeting

Meeting was held and the group would be informed on the outcome of these discussions under item 5.

  • Siân to follow-up with Simon and Mélina on their suggestions for other members for the group (All members of the subgroup can email further suggestions for organisations that should be represented, to Siân prior to the next meeting)

Sara is now attending to represent NASWUT and Scott Sutherland to represent the issues relating to Early Years Workforce. Suggestion that we now close the group membership, to ensure group remains manageable and action focused, but with an option to call on expertise as and when required or if gaps remain.

  • Mélina will raise the link highlighted by Murid around young people’s experience at the Racism and Racist Bullying subgroup, of which she is a member

Mélina will continue to highlight where cross over occurs between subgroups. Racism and racist bullying subgroup should focus on teachers as well as pupils. 

  • EIS are embarking on research looking at recruitment practices - Selma will feed the outcome of this research back in to the group. Simon asked if this will involve direct engagement with local authorities. Selma agreed to speak to Simon separately around the process and method to be used

AGM Motion to EIS from membership. Responses will be received shortly. Scott Sutherland asked if Selma could share communication with local authorities undertaken by EIS for similar work by ELC colleagues. 

Action: Selma to provide further update after responses have been received analysed and will share a copy of letter with Scott Sutherland.

  • Nuzhat to try and obtain a copy of the job description for the West Partnership Diversity Officer

It was subsequently agreed that it wouldn’t be required as job remit has now sufficiently progressed following meeting between Scottish Government and GTC Scotland. 

Agree final terms of reference

A revised version of the vision and terms of reference had been circulated with the agenda and papers, theses revisions were based on discussions at the last meeting. 

Some further feedback was offered on the vision – a request to reference ELC settings. There was also some discussion around the term school and instead use of education establishments, which is felt to be more inclusive. It was agreed that we use the addition of footnote to expand on the term school.

Our Vision 
Scotland's education workforce, reflects and supports the racial diversity of modern Scotland, thereby enriching the education experience for the whole school community. 

Discussion followed around the terms of reference and particularly the remit of the group. It was felt there needs to be clear agreement between what members agree the remit is, point 5 for example. Group must agree actions. 

There needs to be clarity that many group members will not have the same influence as other group members do and we need specific wording to reflect that. 

Action: Yasmin to offer alternative wording. 

It was hoped that the TOR could be signed off at this meeting and Selma offered a further opportunity for group members to come back with any last thoughts so that we do not need to revisit at the next meeting. 

Action: 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.

Race employment - post summit engagement

A presentation was provided by Mandy Watt and Jatin Haria on the post summit engagement which Fairer Workplace colleagues are taking forward. Both said they appreciated the opportunity to engage with the group in order to align thinking on how to progress their aims.

A paper was shared which set out priority issues which have been identified across a number of sectors including education, following the Public Sector Leadership Summit in March. These are:

  • institutional racism
  • data gathering, analysis and application 
  • recruitment, retention and progression
  • joint commitment 
  • positive action 
  • ME staff networks

Mandy acknowledged that some of these issues would also have relevance for the other REAREP sub-groups. 

The following questions were put to the group: 

  • in what way can the subgroup support/promote the recommendations of the Race Equality, Employment and Skills: Making Progress inquiry report?
  • what are the key barriers to honouring the Joint Commitment and how can we work together to address them?
  • can the recommendations and Joint Commitment be used to strengthen our engagement with local authorities and universities?

The summit focused on leadership and responsibility of leaders to take action – question was posed, “will this group have a leadership role in that space”?

A lengthy discussion ensued, which led to the issue of the sphere of influence the sub group have and some specific comments around the actions and remit of the sub-group, summarised as follows:

  • what influence do members have to support and drive action
  • there is a need to be more explicit with our actions 
  • there is a need to identity small number of actions that the group can influence directly – the new post is big step forward, but there is a need to start small and think big
  • need to be realistic and have tangible outputs
  • more quantitative data would be helpful

The last point raised a question around data and whether there are ways to distribute data collection across different institutions and sectors? For example, one member noted that their university actively collects recruitment and promotion data related to gender, but not in relation to race/ethnicity.

Action: 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. 

Draft job remit for new national post

Further revisions have been made to the job remit since the first meeting of this group. The aim of the discussion in this meeting was to fine tune the four key areas of the job remit. These are: 

  • supporting regional improvement collaboratives and local authorities to make progress in increasing diversity in the teacher profession
  • leading action at a national and strategic level to increase diversity in the teacher profession
  • developing and championing mentoring approaches for Black and minority ethic teachers including an emphasis on how these can support career progression
  • providing advice to universities offering Initial Teacher Education to help progress actions that will increase the number of Black and Minority ethnic applications, entrants and qualifiers

Feedback and comments from the group both on the areas outlined above and more general comments around the remit:

  • how do sub group actions link to the remit of the new job role?
  • would like to see more collaboration built in i.e. linking into networks and stakeholders such as EIS, SAMEE and other trade unions - one central point to prompt people, and ensure there’s no duplication
  • more reflection of it being collaborative with stakeholders – needs to be clear and explicit in how it links with the work already being undertaken 
  • offering “advice to universities” seems off kilter to the other 3 points
  • promotions of career progressions – working across the education sector in different ways. Teaching fellowship, academic positions in universities
  • important that post is not perceived as tokenistic – must have impact 
  • looking at racial diversity as well as four points outlined
  • mention of sponsorship would be welcomed, linking to the DITP final report - bringing focus from mentoring to sponsorship is important and looking at how Local Authorities should support that type of career progression 
  • is one person likely to have all skill sets required and requested? 
  • wellbeing of teachers currently in the system must be a forefront, (if all ME teachers were having a positive experience, we wouldn’t be having these conversations)
  • what is process and support available to help ME teachers get into leadership positions and become teacher educators – it’s not just about championing new measures, but tapping into existing processes

Many of these points are covered in the wider text of the job remit. 

Action : Judith will discuss with Victoria and consider how to incorporate points which have not already been covered elsewhere in the wider text. 

Some clarification was also offered in response to questions: 

  • the role is for 23 months initially, with possible extension (although funding for any extension is not guaranteed)
  • post will be located with GTC Scotland but funded by the Scottish Government through the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme Budget
  • the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills is aware and supportive of the post

Any other business

Group members were invited to raise any other business.

Mélina updated the group on the Into Headship Programme. There are two sessions organised to think about how recruitment takes place, looking at recommendations of Professor Arshad’s report – Diversity in the Teaching Profession. It will be useful in establishing the level of awareness of the programme. 

Siân informed the group that she was moving to a new role, supporting Professor Muir in his role leading an independent review into education reform and so will be stepping back from her Equalities in Education role. Reassurance was offered that Judith and Pauline will provide support to the DITPEW subgroup until a replacement is found. Selma expressed thanks to Siân on behalf of the group.

A date for the next meeting was tentatively discussed but given the spread of holiday over October, November was looking like the best option. A date and meeting time will be circulated in due course. 

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