Publication - Minutes

Diversity in the teaching profession minutes: June 2020

Published: 20 Jan 2021
Date of meeting: 3 Jun 2020

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

Published:
20 Jan 2021
Diversity in the teaching profession minutes: June 2020

Attendees and apologies

Present

  • Professor Rowena Arshad, Chairperson
  • Maureen McKenna, ADES
  • Lesley Whelan, Education Scotland
  • Sharon Smith, General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS)
  • Morag Redford, Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE)
  • Selma Augestad, EIS
  • Hakim Din, Calabar Education Consultants
  • Khadija Mohammad, SAMEE
  • Ken Edwards, Skills Development Scotland
  • Jatin Haria, CRER
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, NASUWT
  • Siân Balfour, Scottish Government (Secretariat)

Apologies

  • Debbie Walls, COSLA
  • Louise Barret, Scottish Council of Deans (SCDE)
  • Ken Muir, General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS)
  • Fearghal Kelly, Scottish Government (SG)
  • Mary Osei-Oppong, EIS

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introductions

The meeting was opened by Rowena, who welcomed everyone to the 5th meeting of the extended working group. 

Rowena recognised the extraordinary nature of the current times, acknowledging that the pandemic will have brought a change of focus for many and so

it was agreed that on this occasion, the meeting should have a lighter, shorter agenda.

Selma Augestad, the National Officer for Equality was welcomed to the group representing the EIS, in place of Mary. Sharon Smith was present, representing GTCS.   Labinder Sekhon, Diversity Officer, joined for part of the meeting to update on progress within the West Partnership.

2. Approval of minutes and up-dates and actions arising from previous minutes

No changes were made and the February meeting minutes were accepted as an accurate record.  

Action: SB to publish February minutes to the website

3. Up-dates and matters arising from previous meeting

Rowena shared her view that COVID-19 and the subsequent recovery will take many months but that we should continue to do what we can for now to progress the recommendations, whilst recognising that some work may need to move to a maintenance stage at present. 

The group discussed the recommendations that they felt could continue to be progressed and those that would need to pause. The recommendations associated with Local Authorities were in the main, those that it was felt couldn’t be pursued heavily at this time.  In particular, the Fife pilot and any follow-up with Local Authorities around the responses received to Rowena’s letter, issued at the end of last year.

Sharon confirmed that there would still be capacity to progress actions around probationer’s handbooks and the GTCS standards.  

Action: SB to speak to Joe Griffin about potential follow-up meeting with Khadija. 

Action: SS to share the insert she is due to send to Local Authorities for use in their probationers handbooks and continue to chase the 41% (of Local Authorities) that still haven’t responded to her request on who has probationer handbooks.  

West Partnership Approach

At the last meeting, Labinder Sekhon, Diversity Officer for the West Partnership, had shared with the group her work and planned action to progress recommendations 4, 5, 6, 13 & 14, within the West Partnership.  Due to the current pandemic, Labinder is now due to return to her substantive post.  An update paper outlining the progress to date had been circulated beforehand and shared with the group.  Maureen and Labinder gave an overview of key areas of progress, including the recent successful recruitment campaign for 40 Support for Learning Workers.

Maureen acknowledged that whilst it was disappointing that so much of the work would now have to go on hold, that there were some good foundations from which to start again, once normality resumes.

Action: Ken to share data on uptake of ME young people onto the ELC Graduate Apprenticeships.

Action:  All to consider whether we could replicate the 3 ‘job profile’ posters of a ME primary teacher, EYs Support for Learning worker and a Primary Principal teacher in line with CfE “I can” statements, created by SDS and to be sent to schools as part of the Developing the Young Workforce within the West Partnership.

ITE Symposium Event/Sub-Group of ITE Providers

This event due to be held on 2 June, has now been cancelled.  To continue to progress the recommendations associated with ITE providers and achieve further traction, Rowena had recently proposed that SCDE set up a subgroup to develop a National Framework for Diversity for ITE providers.  This suggestion had been met favourably a scoping meeting of the group is now due to held on 25 June.  An offer of secretariat support has been offered by SG.

Action: Sian to liaise with Morag and confirm with Kevin Hanlon and Scott Brand the offer of secretarial support from SG for the new sub-group, ahead of the meeting on the 25th.  

ITE and Teacher Census Data

The most recent data provided by colleagues within Scottish Government, in response to a request for further information/clarification following our last meeting, had been circulated to everyone in advance at the meeting.  

Action: Sian to ask colleagues about the Teacher Census data for 2019/2020 and when this is due to be published.

Action: Rowena to work up a proposal to scope a piece of research piece of work which would look at the number of ME probationers and track their journey i.e. how many have progressed, who have not stayed in the profession and why – we need this intel to fully understand barriers and not just anecdotal evidence.    

4. Update and Discussion on Covid-19 Education Recovery Group Workforce Support Workstream

Fearghal, Rowena and Lesley all sit on the Workforce Support Workstream – a sub-group of Covid-19 Education Recovery Group (CERG) and an update on purpose and progress of this working group was given.

This led on to discussion about the safety of ME staff in schools given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19.

Rowena shared with the group information that had been provided by Judith Ballantine, Equality in Education Team Leader, Scottish Government (SG) about progress on sectoral return-to-work guidance being produced, including the guidance on the reopening of schools, to assist employers in getting staff safely back to work, where working from home is not possible.

Recognising the emerging evidence suggesting that Covid 19 may impact disproportionately on ethnic minorities, Rowena shared the wording of the paragraph that would be included in all sectoral guidance:   

“Given that there is some evidence which suggests that Covid-19 may impact disproportionately on some groups (Minority Ethnic communities), local authorities and schools should ensure that OHS provide practical support to Minority Ethnic staff, particularly where they are anxious about protecting themselves and their families.  All Minority Ethnic staff with underlying health conditions and disabilities, who are over 70, or who are pregnant should be individually risk assessed, and appropriate reasonable or workplace adjustments should be made following risk assessment”.

The group discussed at length and agreed that there is a need to remind authorities to be extra vigilant of any potential increased discrimination and harassment that might be faced by ME staff and pupils, so raising awareness in the workplace of ways to address, making sure that the ways to report any such incidents is clear, as well as how to support ME staff and pupils.

Action: Sian to establish which working group the remit for this falls under, and ask about possible strengthening of the SG statement as well as identified need for guidance to local authorities specifically for ME teachers, returning post Covid-19. 

Action:  Sian to send link to the Education Workforce Support survey to all group members, and ask them to use their networks to circulate

5. Next Steps

Rowena recapped on the recommendations that the group felt we could still feasibly progress.  She also referred to the decision at the last meeting to extend the group till Spring 2021 and the idea of a “taking stock” event.  It was agreed that the we would be in a better position at the next meeting to make some clearer decisions around such an event.

Action: Sian to arrange catch-up/progress up-date between her, Rowena and Fearghal for early July

6. AOB/Future Meeting Date 

There were no items of AOB

The next meeting of the working group is due to be held on Tuesday 27 October 2020 – meeting arrangements will be circulated closer to the time.

Summary of Actions

  1. Siân Balfour to publish February minutes to the website
  2. Siân Balfour to speak to Joe Griffin about potential follow-up meeting with Khadija. 
  3. Sharon Smith to share the insert she is due to send to Local Authorities for use in their probationers handbooks and continue to chase the 41% (of Local Authorities) that still haven’t responded to her request on who has probationer handbooks.   
  4. Ken Edwards to share data on uptake of ME young people onto the ELC Graduate Apprenticeships.
  5. Working group to consider whether we could replicate the 3 ‘job profile’ posters of a BME primary teacher, EYs Support for Learning worker and a Primary Principal teacher in line with CfE “I can” statements, created by SDS and to be sent to schools as part of the Developing the Young Workforce within the West Partnership.
  6. Siân Balfour to ask colleagues about the Teacher Census data for 2019/2020 and when this is due to be published.
  7. Rowena Arshad to work up a proposal to scope a piece of research piece of work which would look at the number of BME probationers and track their journey i.e. how many have progressed, who have not stayed in the profession and why – we need this intel to fully understand barriers and not just anecdotal evidence. 
  8. Action: Sian to establish which working group the remit for this falls under, and ask about possible strengthening of the SG statement as well as identified need for guidance to local authorities specifically for ME teachers, returning post Covid-19
  9. Siân Balfour to send link to the Education Workforce Support survey to the group members, and ask them to use their networks to circulate. 
  10. Siân Balfour to liaise with Morag and confirm with Kevin Hanlon and Scott Brand the offer of secretarial support from SG for the new sub-group (first scoping meeting to take place on 25 June at 2 p.m.). 
  11. Siân Balfour (Secretariat) to arrange catch-up/progress up-date between her, Rowena and Fearghal for early July