Diversity in the teaching profession minutes: April 2018

Short term working group on diversity in the teaching profession. This is a sub-group of the Strategic Board for Teacher Education.

Attendees and apologies

  • Professor Rowena Arshad, University of Edinburgh (Chair)
  • Ken Muir, General Teaching Council (Scotland)
  • Khadija Mohammad, Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE)
  • Maureen McKenna, Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES)
  • Dr Morag Redford, Scottish Council of Deans of Education
  • David Roy, Scottish Government
  • Reed Sweir, Fulbright scholar, with University of Edinburgh
  • Kelly Ireland, Scottish Government (SG, Secretariat)


  • Hakim Din, Calabar Education Consultants, former HMIE

Items and actions

1. Information Gathering Exercise Discussion

Rowena thanked the group for their engagement with stakeholders to date and noted there was one further engagement session still to take place with BEMIS.

Members agreed the output of the discussions were interesting and there was a number of key themes emerging from the evidence gathered to date. The group agreed leadership, status/perception, experiences of racism in schools, entry requirements into ITE and career/promotion opportunities were some of the key themes emerging. The following observations were made:


  • There is a need to follow the journey of BME teachers through their career from ITE to promoted positions to fully understand where issues lie in terms of representation, retention and promotion. This would help to develop data in respect of applications at each institution, intake numbers, pass rates, drop outs, placements and progressions.
  • Leaders should utilise positive action and other available measures to improve promotion opportunities for BME teachers to achieve better representation at all levels.
  • Use the regional improvement collaboratives to capture the importance of this issue at a national and regional level ensuring there is a commitment for all Local Authorities to create a culturally diverse workforce and a more reflective profession.

Leadership – Learning & Development

  • There is a need to re-engage schools, teachers and education leaders on race equality and anti-racist education with a need to modernise the method of learning and teaching for race equality, taking a culturally-responsive approach to the application of the learning.
  • consider how teachers could have more opportunities to reflect on the communities they serve and recognise the impact they could have if they better understood how to connect with the diversities the school is part of.
  • Revisit the Education Scotland resources, providing teachers and head teachers with clear anti-racist resources and culturally responsive pedagogies to support learning in the classroom.

Status of profession

  • Take steps to change black and minority ethnic parental perception of the teaching as anecdotal feedback suggests the perception of the profession is not considered as the same level of profession as medicine and dentistry in the BME community, possibly due to lack of promotion opportunities and relative low pay. * Ensure there are role models at all levels across the profession and to be more reflective of the communities that they serve.
  • Efforts are required to improve the attractiveness of the teaching profession.

Entry into ITE

  • Consideration needs to be given to students from a BME background who do not have English as their first language as this is seen a barrier to BME students entering the profession. A discussion on entry requirements with GTCS and admissions departments to consider the Higher English requirement at the point of exit on ITE courses for particular groups might be an option to consider for some programmes (not PGDE one year programmes).
  • There is a need to create more opportunities for aspiring students to have taster opportunities of what it is like to be in the teaching profession, possibly trailing this with different faiths, cultures and religions initially to attract a more diverse workforce.

Quick wins discussed

  • Although the Race Equality Action Plan (REAP) is a long term strategic plan (2016-2030) there is a number of potential quick wins which are achievable with effort and investment from the those across the teaching community, these could include ensuring all advertising and marketing campaigns from Government, local government and education stakeholders has BME representation, ensuring BME representation and input to major or high profile conferences and events such as the ADES conferences, and advocating the REAP and diversity in the teaching profession work during policy and education discussions at government and local level.

2. Next steps

Rowena will consider all the evidence gathered and circulate a draft report by the end of June with key recommendations for consideration at the next meeting.

Actions to be taken forward by the group and reported back to the secretariat at the earliest convenience.

3. Date of next meeting

The group agreed to meet to finalise the report before sending to the strategic board for teacher education for discussion and sign off. The next meeting is scheduled for 17 July.

4. Actions arising from the meeting

  • Kelly to finalise the last stakeholder engagement session (BEMIS)
  • Kelly to chase the output of the EIS report on BME in the teaching profession.
  • Maureen to speak to Peter Scott with regards to how this work could be linked into the widening access work that he leads.
  • Kelly to collate all university replies to the initial correspondence issued by the group asking ‘to what extend is racial diversity on their agenda’
  • Rowena, Morag and Khadija to consider the university responses in relation to their admissions process, discussing the barriers for BME students coming into the profession at this stage of the application process.
  • Maureen to report back to the group following meeting with Glasgow City Council EIS teachers.
  • Kelly to gather more information on Aberdeen’s bespoke teaching certificate qualification.
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