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

Minutes from the group's meeting on 22 September 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Asif Chishti (Co-Chair), Senior Education Officer (National Race Diversity Lead), General Teaching Council Scotland
  • Louise Barrett, SCDE
  • Selma Augestad, National Officer, Equality, EIS
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Professional Learning and Leadership (Race Equality), Education Scotland 
  • Andrea Reid, Glasgow City Council and ADES
  • Zemeta Chefeke, SAMEE
  • Judith Mohamed, Head teacher
  • Navan Govender, Anti-Racist Educator 
  • Simon Cameron, COSLA
  • Lesley Whelan, Head of Professional Learning and Leadership, Education Scotland
  • Alasdair Anthony, Statistician, Scottish Government
  • Alan Sloan, Statistician, Scottish Government
  • Janice Blanc, Assistant Statistician, Scottish Government
  • Keya Raksith, Workforce Planning, Scottish Government
  • Judith Ballantine, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Emma Bunting, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government
  • Pauline Hendry, Equality in Education Team, Scottish Government


  • Nuzhat Uthmani (Chair), Principal Teacher
  • Scott Sutherland, Early Learning and Childcare, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Asif welcomed members to the meeting, including new member Keya Raksith who will be representing Scottish Government’s Workforce Planning team going forward. 

Asif introduced Scottish Government statisticians. 

Apologies had been given in advance for Nuzhat Uthmani and Scott Sutherland. 

Minutes and update on actions from the previous meeting

The minutes from the August meeting of the subgroup were agreed. Asif commented that the subgroup minute had been accompanied by the final minutes from the children and young people’s groups run by Show Racism the Red Card. He reflected that the minutes provide very useful and constructive feedback from children and young people on REAREP draft proposals as well as their experiences of education more generally. He was clear that they made for important, and at times challenging, reading and that if members have not done so already that they may wish to read them. Other members agreed. 

Actions Update:

  • action 1 - Pauline Hendry to set up a meeting with the DITPEW chairs to discuss the next steps for the Developing the Young Workface session. Pauline has scheduled a meeting for week commencing 26 September 2022 with the subgroup co-chairs and Scott Sutherland. Remains open, Pauline will feedback at the next subgroup meeting
  • action 2- Mélina Valdelièvre to gather and collate DITPEW members’ comments on the RRI whole school approach document and to take back to the RRI subgroup. Action closed. Mélina has fed back comments to the RRI subgroup but no further action has been taken at this stage. The RRI subgroup is scheduled to meet for the first time since the summer in October, after which Mélina will feed back to this group
  • action 3 - Emma Bunting to update the action grid to amend the action drivers for 2(c). Action closed, Emma has updated the action grid. This is reflected in the papers for this meeting
  • action 4 - Emma Bunting to send the final minutes relating to the contract with Show Racism the Red Card and their engagement with children and young people. Action closed, these were attached to the August subgroup meeting minute
  • action 5 - Nuzhat Uthmani to engage a probationer teacher regarding the Scottish Learning Festival session. Action closed
  • action 6 - Judith Ballantine to pick up with Education Workforce to see if we know the impact of the figures featured in a recent TES article on BAME teachers/probationers. Action closed, to be discussed under agenda item 4

The agenda was slightly reordered, this is reflected in the below minute. 

Presentation from Scottish Government analytical services

Asif invited Scottish Government analysts to deliver a presentation on the data relating to the diversity of the teaching population in Scotland. He highlighted that the next Annual Data Report is scheduled for publication on 20 April 2023. 

Analysts outlined what data is collected, analysed and included within the Scottish Government’s Annual Data Report on the Diversity of the Teaching Profession in Scotland. This includes:

  • ethnicity data for all teachers, including probationers, within the Teacher Census
  • university data relating to Initial Teacher Education (ITE), sourced from data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

One key concern raised by subgroup members was in relation to the number of teachers for whom their ethnicity is ‘unknown’. Analysts explained that this could be for a number of reasons including:

  • teachers having pro-actively declined to disclose their ethnicity when asked
  • teachers not being pro-actively asked to disclose their ethnicity
  • teachers not identifying with any of the ethnicity options reflected and so choosing ‘unknown’
  • teachers having missed the question on ethnicity out entirely

Analysts highlighted that the percentage of teachers with an unknown ethnicity varies between local authorities and that this is likely due to a difference in approaches to collecting ethnicity data. 

Scottish Government analysts advised that, whilst some minimal progress has been made, the data continues to indicate that minority ethnic teachers are chronically underrepresented at all stages in the career journey. 

In relation to university applicant data, it suggests that minority ethnic applicants are less likely to be offered a place on an ITE programme when compared with the general applicant population (33% against 50%). Analysts acknowledged that there could be reasons for this, other than discrimination, but that it was a clear trend. 

Of those completing ITE, the data indicates that minority ethnic individuals are less likely to successfully complete their course. 

Analysts advised that they have been able to look at the situation 3 years after the probationary period ends in order to get a sense of how many of those who start probation have gone on to secure permanent and temporary employment within the Scottish education system. For the most recent cohort (2017) 84% of probationers are in employment but that this figure is only 70% within the minority ethnic cohort. 

Members suggested that for more recent figures there is likely to be some impact from the Covid-19 pandemic. For example student retention rates for some institutions during the latter year of the pandemic was particularly low, with more students seeking voluntary suspension, requiring retrieval placements and withdrawing from programmes altogether. 

Members reflected that ‘natural wastage’ within the primary sector seems to have been particularly high within the past couple of years. 

Analysts advised that caution is needed when trying to interpret UCAS data. It must be remembered that each individual applicant can make five applications to five different institutions and just because they do not show up in the data as a student of ITE does not mean that they have not been successful in securing a place on a different course. 

Analysts outlined that the HESA data collected relates to new entrants, enrolments (all years of study), post-graduates and qualifiers. They reflected that HESA offers a very rich data source. 

There was a question raised by members as to whether the low numbers of post-probationary teachers gaining permanent employment, recently reported in TES magazine, had disproportionately impacted upon minority ethnic practitioners. Analysts confirmed that the data shows that a lower percentage of post-probation teachers from a minority ethnic background found employment within education. As with other data caveats must be applied. For example there are a range of reasons why an individual may not move from probation to full time permanent employment. 

Members asked whether the HESA data includes any information on ‘applicants’ who have been unsuccessful due to visa requirements not being met and/or foreign equivalent qualifications not being accepted by institutions. Analysts clarified that the data we have is for UK-domiciled applicants only. It was accepted that there may be potential students who have lived in the UK for some time but do not have the right to go to university and/or are ineligible for funding. Some members reflected that there is positive action in the form of financial support being offered by some institutions – for example Edinburgh University’s Saroj Lal bursary. 

Action grid discussion

Asif introduced the discussion regarding the group’s action plan. He suggested that members should consider where work should be focussed, acknowledging that some actions are more developed than others. Following this discussion the chairs and secretariat will meet to discuss a further work plan ahead of the October meeting.

Action – Chairs and secretariat to meet and discuss forward plan of work and to report back to October meeting of the DITPEW subgroup. 

Members reflected that action themes two, three and four have made some progress and that, in comparison action theme one is less developed. Thoughts on theme one included:

  • there is a need to consider what is meant by ‘sponsorship’ and who will be tasked with taking this action forward
  • there will be clear links to be made with other subgroups to take some of this work forward
  • it feels as if the group are in a position to start taking forward action relating to 1(D) within the action grid. A question was raised around whether there is an available register of resources that can be used

Members also felt that further thinking was needed around activity in the run up to and following the publication of the next Annual Data Report, for example regarding engagement with local authorities and higher education institutions. There is also a sense that work can be done fairly swiftly to address the issues discussed above around non-disclosure of ethnicity data. 

Members also expressed interest in receiving an update on the work that Khadija Mohammed is doing in developing an anti-racist framework for ITE, on behalf of SCDE. 

More generally, there was a sense that a mapping exercise, to understand better at a strategic level who is responsible for recruitment within the teaching profession, would be helpful as members consider the education landscape in Scotland to be complex.

Initial reflections from the Scottish Learning Festival

The Scottish Learning Festival event entitled ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ took place on the 21 September 2022. There were some minor last minute logistical hiccups but generally the session went well. 

Mélina reflected that it was disappointing that attendance was fairly low, however this seems to be largely a result of the time-slot allocated. The session is recorded however and members felt it might be helpful if the recording was circulated more widely to REAREP members, with an ask that they disseminate further.

Action - Pauline Hendry to send SLF session recording to REAREP members and ask that they distribute further as they deem appropriate.

Members said that it was useful to hear from Edinburgh University regarding their reflections of the actions that they have taken to date, including those actions they deemed to be less successful. 

Any other business

  • Asif offered brief feedback from the recent launch event for Edinburgh University’s Race and Inclusivity Global Network. The work of this network is more closely linked with decolonisation of the curriculum however those present expressed an interest in working with the group in the future
  • Selma updated the group that EIS are thinking around how they bring recruitment processes into negotiations, including the potential use of positive action
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